Risk & Compliance

Familiar Tune: SEC Alleges Backdating

Former Apple finance chief will settle with the SEC, former general counsel will be charged, according to published accounts.
Stephen TaubApril 24, 2007

Former Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges regarding backdated stock option grants, according to published accounts. He will also pay a $150,000 fine to settle SEC charges that he filed false financial reports and oversaw inadequate accounting controls, reported Bloomberg.

More than 200 companies have disclosed investigations into their stock option practices; Anderson is the most prominent finance executive to be caught up in the scandal.

Apple’s CFO from 1996 to 2004, Anderson resigned from the company’s board of directors last October. Currently he is a managing director of Elevation Partners, a private equity firm specializing in the media and entertainment industry. Anderson also board of directors of eBay, Move Inc., and VG Holding Corp.

The San Jose Mercury News stressed that Anderson’s settlements with the SEC don’t involve options grant to Apple founder and chief executive officer Steve Jobs. Last December, the company disclosed that an internal investigation had found that Jobs “was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates [but] did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications.”

The Mercury Newsalso reported that the commission is expected to charge former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen in connection with backdated options.

Her attorney, Miles Ehrlich, told the paper: “It’s simply unfair to single out Nancy Heinen for enforcement action from among the thousands of executives in hundreds of companies all over this country who’ve been swept up in these stock options cases. Nancy didn’t backdate stock options, and she didn’t deceive anyone.”