Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bloomberg: "Options-Toll Rises as Corporate Lawyers Retire, Quit"

Hey! So, what's the problem, huh? So what if a few executives finagled their options grant date? Why all this fuss? Everybody's done it, and no one will ever know. And you worked real hard for the company last year. You're entitled to be taken care of too. We'll just fix the papers, OK? Sign here. You don't want to be known as some kind of ethical freak do you?

Well, now we know.

And why are the corporate counsels being made the fall-guys? Well what do you want Apple to do, fire Steve Jobs? Yes, the corporate counsel should have stopped it. Corporate counsels can be removed if they get in the way of CEOs. It would be an unequal contest. But which is better, to be fired for doing what is right, or to be fired later as the fall-guy?

Well, imho it's like this. When the options grant date was illegally backdated, it was for a reason. It was certainly not done to cost the manager in question more money! Generally, a date was chosen using good 20-20 hindsight, to get a lower share price factored in and thus a larger gain later. Documents were falsified to cover the backdating. So where is the victim? The problem, is that the favored few were in a real sense stealing from the other stockholders. It is that simple. If anyone should be pilloried in these cases, it should be the offending manager(s) and the directors who were asleep, governance-wise. Exclusive

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