Must Apple discuss CEO Steve Jobs’ health?

“Apple wasn’t shy Monday about touting the sales of its latest iPhone (selling more than a million units in the first three days). But the company didn’t say anything confirming reports from over the weekend that co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs had a liver transplant two months ago,” Rachel Beck reports for The Associated Press. “Do investors across corporate America have the right to know this information as they struggle to manage their recession-hit portfolios? What are the rules under U.S. securities laws?”

“Companies don’t have to give updates on their executives’ health. That is typically not considered ‘material information,’ which must be disclosed under rules put forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Beck reports. “Jobs also has been on medical leave since January, which means he technically isn’t working in an executive capacity.”

“SEC rules lack specific guidelines regarding health disclosures about executives, which means corporate directors have discretion over what kind of information they decide to tell the public,” Beck reports.

“Will Apple ever have to disclose the liver transplant?” ,” Beck wonders. “No. ‘This can be deemed a private situation and can be kept confidential,’ said G. William Speer, senior counsel at the law firm Bryan Cave in Atlanta. ‘The information only has to be known by the board and the company.’ If Jobs returns to work soon, as the company says he plans to do, there is even less likelihood Apple will feel the need to disclose any specifics relating to his transplant.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]

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