CEO Health Disclosure at Apple: A Public or Private Matter
Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Closer Look Series: Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance No. CGRP-12
7 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2011 Last revised: 3 Sep 2013
Date Written: January 24, 2011
In recent years, much attention has been paid to CEO succession planning as a risk management issue. However, it is not clear what information the company should disclose on this matter or how extensive the disclosure should be. This is particularly true when it comes to companies whose CEOs are experiencing health issues. On the one hand, shareholders value detailed disclosure on the health of the CEO because it helps them to make a reasoned assessment of whether and when a transition might occur. On the other hand, health information is a private matter, which the CEO may not wish to disclose.
We examine this issue as it has unfolded at Apple. How extensive should disclosure on CEO health be? How should the board weigh its obligations to shareholders against the protection of privacy? Should the board disclose other, less sensitive information regarding CEO behavior that might be material to the market price of the stock price (such as a distracting divorce, excessive stress levels, or risky hobbies)?
Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance and Leadership: The Closer Look series is a collection of short case studies through which we explore topics, issues, and controversies in corporate governance. In each study, we take a targeted look at a specific issue that is relevant to the current debate on governance and explain why it is so important. Larcker and Tayan are co-authors of the book Corporate Governance Matters, and A Real Look at Real World Corporate Governance.
Keywords: CEO succession, enterprise risk, disclosure & transparency
JEL Classification: G30, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation