When Steve Jobs left Apple in 2009 for what we’d soon find out was a liver transplant, there was a lot of talk about what information, if any, Jobs was obligated to divulge to the Apple board and Apple investors. While shareholders have a right to material information that can affect the performance of a company’s stock, Jobs’ condition remained private matter. Indeed, one could argue that because Jobs wasn’t sure about the success rate of his transplant prior to the procedure, divulging his medical plans would have created only more uncertainty and generated more questions from investors. Also, there is a little something called a right to privacy.
Anyways, now that Jobs is temporarily out of the mix once again, there are naturally a few holier than thou types clamoring for more medical information from either Jobs or Apple. So what are we to make of all of this? Well, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt recently told Bloomberg that Apple has already disclosed enough info to steer clear of any official SEC investigation.
Levitt, who headed the SEC from 1993 to 2001, said the severity of Jobs’s cancer is well established and the board doesn’t need to share more details with the public.
“It’s easy to criticize the board, but I think the reality is that someone who owns Apple stock has got to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know that Jobs has an illness that can reoccur at any time,” Levitt said in a telephone interview.
And so there you have it.