GT Advanced Technologies COO Daniel Squiller sold off US$1.2 million in company stock in May and put a plan in place to sell an additional $750,000 over the following months leading up to the company's October bankruptcy filing. The timing of the sales came after GTAT failed to meet milestone points in its sapphire glass production for Apple, and could raise some eyebrows because company CEO Tom Gutierrez was selling off his stock, too, including 9,000 shares the day before the iPhone 6 was introduced.
GTAT COO sold off company stock after sapphire deal with Apple fell apart
Mr. Squiller's stock sale may have been coincidental, but the timing does raise questions because he was directly involved in operations at the factory producing Apple's sapphire glass. The sapphire was widely expected to be used for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus display, but it looks like Apple had to use a different glass when GTAT wasn't able to meet production needs.
Apple partnered with GTAT in October 2013 for sapphire glass production. The iPhone and iPad maker committed to $578 million in pre-payments so GTAT could install the furnaces needed to make the glass, and it leased factory space in Mesa, Arizona, to the company for manufacturing.
The $103 million payment GTAT was expecting in February didn't come until April when the fourth and final payment of $139 million was due, according to the Wall Street Journal. That final payment was never made because GTAT didn't meet the terms of its agreement with Apple.
Mr. Gutierrez sold over $10 million shares of GTAT stock since February, which also could be coincidental timing. Considering both executives were selling stock ahead of the iPhone 6 launch, however, they are raising questions as to whether or not they expected the company's stock to tank once news that its glass wasn't being used for the new iPhones was public.
The the case of Mr. Gutierrez, GTAT said the stock sales were prearranged and that the timing was merely a coincidence. So far there hasn't been any comment on Mr. Squiller's stock sales.