New data from search firm Spencer Stuart shows that members of the boards of three American public companies make more than $100,000 a meeting. Two of the first are not terribly well-known– Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) and Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR).
The third company is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The members of the board of the world’s premier consumer electronics and computer company made an average of $127,000 a meeting, according to Reuters.
Apple has a blue chip board that includes some members who do not know much about business and governance, especially Al Gore.
The Apple board has a special function that is unlike that of any other board of a large US company. The board does not run the company and probably gives management almost no guidance. Apple is and has been a “one man” operation under Steve Jobs since the initial success of the iPod in 2001. Apple’s stock has gone from under $8 to over $200 since then. Jobs is credited with creating the iPod, the iPhone, the newest versions of the Mac. He is credited with building the market programs that sell the products and the overall brand, one of the world’s most valuable, that is the result of all that work.
The Apple board has done little other than dodge nettlesome issues. The first was the question of stock options backdating. Apple’s CFO lost his job over the issue. Jobs was left unmolested. Then there was the problem of Jobs’ health. He has a form of cancer which can be seriously debilitating if not fatal. Jobs has even had his liver replaced. The board might have pushed for an early disclosure of the cancer diagnosis. It did not.
Apple’s board members get more than $100,000 a year for hiding information and protecting Jobs. At least that is what the public record shows.
Douglas A. McIntyre