BusinessWeek Looks Askance At Gore Appointment

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Alex Salkever, current author of Charles Haddadis "Byte of the Apple" column (Mr. Haddad is on leave), doesnit think too highly of Appleis newest Board member. Mr. Salkever piece, titled "Why Apple Shouldnit Vote for Gore," cites a number of reasons for why he thinks Al Gore makes a poor choice for Appleis board of directors, most of which center around the notion that Al Gore doesnit offer the appearance of an independent director. According to Mr. Salkever, Apple needs that independence. From the article:

With its stock price down over the past two years, the last thing Apple shareholders want or need is a celebrity director with zero business experience, aside from the business of fund-raising and politicking. Gore might make a wonderful contribution to Apple in some other capacity. But Jobs & Co. should think long and hard about the message it sends to shareholders with this appointment.

[...]

Over the past two years, Apple has declined to make clear the process by which Jobs is compensated. The board has put in place no clear triggers for his performance bonuses, something thatis considered necessary in board-CEO relationships. Which may explain, in part, why Jobs got a $90 million jet in 2002, while his shareholders watched Apple stock sink from $23.46 to $14.55, a 38% decline.

According to Paul Hodgson, a researcher at The Corporate Library, this raises the question of whether Jobs is exerting undue influence over compensation policies. That violates a sacred principle in corporate governance: Executive-pay decisions should be made by directors shielded from meddling by top execs. Says Hodgson: "It sounds like an idea they cooked up among themselves, with Jobs in there telling them what he wanted."

Earlier today, we mentioned a piece by David Zeiler with comments from Needham analyst Charles Wolf, who has a much higher opinion of Appleis board. As for Mr. Salkeveris thoughts, there is much more information in the full article at BusinessWeekis Web site.

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