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Apple Backdating Probe Forces Ex-CFO Off Board

Apple CEO Steve Jobs apologizes

CEO apologies seem to be the order of the day. Turning from HP's "whatever were they thinking" hi-jinx to the creeping miasma of backdating, Apple CEO Steve Jobs found himself apologizing late Wednesday after the results of the company's three-month internal audit came in.

Seems there was backdating at Apple, Jobs knew about it and, as a result, former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, who was in office when the options were backdated, has resigned from the Apple board.

According to a statement Apple issued, 15 instances of backdating occurred between 1997 and 2002. Jobs "was aware," it said, in a "few instances" that "favorable grant dates had been selected, but he did not receive or otherwise benefit from these grants and was unaware of the accounting implications."

Apple did not say who got the options, but did say that its investigation "raised serious concerns regarding the actions of two former officers" regarding the options. Since it did not identify them, it is unclear whether Anderson is one of them. Apple said it would report them to the SEC.

Suspicions have been raised that Apple may be referring to its ex-general counsel Nancy Heinen who left the company earlier year for undisclosed reasons and then retained the same criminal attorney that HP's ex-general counsel Ann Baskins, implicated in the HP mess, just hired to represent her.

Apple figures it will have to restate but doesn't know yet what periods or how much the charges and tax might be or what other accounting impact the discoveries might have. The tainted options represent 6% of those Apple issued.

The internal investigation was conducted by a special board committee of outside directors, independent counsel and accountants, who examined 650,000 e-mails and documents and interviewed 40 current and former employees, directors and advisors.

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