Former Apple CFO Bitten by Backdating?

CFOs of two different computer companies are indirectly accused of wrongdoing: backdating at Apple and "pretexting" at HP. Yet no one has said anyt...
Roy Harris and Joseph McCaffertyNovember 1, 2006

The silence at Apple Computer about the fate of former director and
CFO Fred Anderson was deafening after the company’s October 4 announcement
that it had uncovered 15 instances of possible stock-options backdating between
1997 and 2002.

The lone release made two points. The first was that two former unnamed
officers were the subject of “serious concerns”
regarding the “accounting, recording, and
reporting of stock-option grants.” It explained
that during a three-month investigation, a
special committee of Apple’s outside directors,
along with independent counsel and accountants,
had examined hundreds of thousands of
E-mails and documents and interviewed more
than 40 current and former employees and
others. The second point was that Anderson,
CFO from 1996 to 2004, had told the company
“that he believes it is in Apple’s best interest
that he resign from the board at this time.”

In the absence of more information, the
investment community has been assuming that
Anderson is one of the
two officers involved in
the backdating scandal. “We don’t know for
sure, but that’s certainly
the implication of
the announcement,”
says Argus Research
analyst Wendy

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs

Download our whitepaper to discover the technical and behavioral skills needed to lead your business forward.

An Apple
spokesperson declined
to expand on the
October 4 release.
Anderson, whose term
as finance chief
covered a period of
phenomenal growth as
the company exploited
the iPod and other new
markets, remains on
the board of eBay.

HP-Gate Goes to Washington

Accusations are flying at Hewlett-Packard. The investigation into the pretexting
scandal that has shaken the computer giant took an unexpected turn when
former chair Patricia Dunn suggested that CFO Robert Wayman played a larger role in
the boardroom-spying case than previously revealed. Dunn and several other executives
were forced to resign after allegations surfaced that top HP managers used
potentially illegal methods to obtain phone records and other information from journalists
and directors to find out who was leaking sensitive information.

In testimony to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on September
28, Dunn implied that Wayman approved an investigation into boardroom leaks. “It
was my assumption that Mr. Wayman, having ultimate authority over all the
resources involved in security and investigations, as well as having been one of the
directors who felt the most strongly about the importance of controlling leaks from
the board, had provided authorization for whatever work was undertaken,” she said.
Dunn also told the committee that Wayman referred her to Kevin Hunsaker, the head
of HP’s global security, to pursue the matter. After her initial statement, Dunn did not
mention Wayman during hours of questioning by the committee.

So far, Wayman and CEO Mark Hurd, who took over as chairman,
have survived the scandal. “To the best of our knowledge, Bob
Wayman had no direct involvement whatsoever in this leak investigation,
beyond referring Pattie Dunn to HP’s security team,” says Ryan
Donovan, an HP spokesperson. “Any assumption about Bob Wayman’s
involvement made by Ms. Dunn was nothing more than that,
an assumption.” Hurd has admitted to approving a plan to send a
phony E-mail to a journalist, but claims he was unaware of the details
of other tactics used in the botched investigation. Dunn and Hunsaker
face criminal charges stemming from the case. — Joseph McCafferty

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting