Apple Option Probe: More on the Grant

6 Jan ’07

Justin Scheck of The Recorder has more detail on the lawyer, Wendy Howell, responsible for the paperwork on the option grant to Steve Jobs that is at issue in the Apple backdating case.

It cannot be much comfort to Apple that at least one reporter is feeling cocky enough about this story that he’s adopting a snide tone in his coverage:

Steve Jobs is an ideas guy. He wears jeans, grows beards and orates to cheering throngs at events like this week’s MacWorld conference. Jobs’ biographers say evidence indicates that he’s a pescetarian. He went to India. He takes only $1 a year in salary. And he leaves it up to other people to award him hugely valuable piles of stock in Apple Computer, where he’s the CEO.

“Leaves it to other people” – as opposed to the hordes of other CEOs who don’t, I suppose.

And of Howell, we learn from Scheck that she:

  • had an “unlike trajectory” into Apple
  • graduated from a law school unaccredited by the American Bar Association
  • found herself in the legal department of Apple Computer at a time when it was having a tough time finding in-house lawyers
  • when her direct supervisor left in 2000, began reporting to the General Counsel, even though Howell had been practicing law for “only” four years
  • stayed there through a boom and bust which flooded the job market with more experienced corporate attorneys who would’ve been happy to have Howell’s job
  • filled out the paperwork on the Job options in “that atmosphere”

The coverage on Howell ends with her termination as a result of the option grant, but we are given no information as to why, and only the above vaguely mocking backstory to tell us who she is.

Profoundly underwhelming, and if Howell is an innocent, this kind of coverage must be utterly demoralizing to her.

Previous post:

Next post: