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

David F. Larcker

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business

Brian Tayan

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business

Date Written: January 24, 2011

Abstract

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

Larcker, David F. and Tayan, Brian, CEO Health Disclosure at Apple: A Public or Private Matter (January 24, 2011). Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Closer Look Series: Topics, Issues and Controversies in Corporate Governance No. CGRP-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1747028

David F. Larcker (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business ( email )

Graduate School of Business
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-725-6159 (Phone)

Brian Tayan

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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