Thursday, March 25, 2010, 05:25 am PT (08:25 am ET)
Late Apple director was 'disgusted' Jobs didn't reveal health issuesRecently deceased Apple Board of Directors member Jerry York told The Wall Street Journal last year that he wished he had resigned after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn't publicly disclose his health issues.
The Journal this week profiled Apple's board, following the passing of York last week, and the departure of Google's chief Eric Schmidt last year. The report noted that the loss of York "has left the company with fewer independent voices, putting it in conflict with its own board's rules and renewing concerns about the board's ability to oversee strong-willed Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Jobs."
York spoke with the paper last year, and allegedly said he was bothered by how Jobs handled his illness, and the CEO's lack of public disclosure on the matter. Though the report did not say that York's comments were off the record, the fact that they were not published until he passed away would suggest that to be the case.
"In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year, Mr. York said he almost resigned when told of the seriousness of Mr. Jobs's illness," the report said. "Mr. York felt Mr. Jobs should have publicly disclosed his health problem three weeks earlier in a news release that announced his decision not to appear at the Macworld trade conference.
"Mr. York said the concealment 'disgusted' him, adding that the only reason he didn't quit at the time was because he wanted to avoid the uproar that would have occurred once he disclosed his reason. 'Frankly, I wish I had resigned then,' he said.
In January 2009, Jobs took a leave of absence from Apple due to health-related issues. The CEO has insisted that he considers his health to be a "private matter." He eventually returned to work in June after receiving a liver transplant. With Jobs at the helm, his company's board now has just six members — among the smallest of any Fortune 500 company.
York died last week after the 71-year-old suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He joined Apple's board in 1997.
Last August, Google's Schmidt resigned from Apple's board after both companies entered too many of each others' core businesses, particularly as the battle between the iPhone and Android mobile operating system continues to rage. The company has made no attempt to fill Schmidt's seat since his departure.
The Journal said that Jobs has kept "tight control and directors have rarely challenged him." It noted that members of the board are handpicked by Jobs and are loyal to him. The report said that investors have "long urged Apple's directors to be more independent of the company's powerful CEO."
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