Cult of Mac interviewed Paul Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communication at Tuck School of Business on Apple’s handling of Steve Jobs’ sickness and their obligation to inform shareholders. Argenti makes no bones about it:
“The difference between a nutritional imbalance and a liver transplant is huge … The law is very clear — full disclosure of material information. If a CEO’s liver transplant isn’t material, what is? But whether the SEC has the balls to do something about it, we’ll see.”
At the end of last year, Jobs said he was suffering from a simple hormone imbalance. A week later, he said he was taking six months medical leave because his medical issues were “more complex.”
According to Argenti, Apple’s reputation will suffer because the public won’t trust its ethics.
“Clearly, this is going to affect not only Apple’s customers but employees that were lied to or kept in the dark about what was going on,” Argenti said. “Apple is one of the most admired companies in America and this is how they deal with this kind of news? It’s unacceptable, unethical and irresponsible to all constituents.”
“As a communications strategy, it makes no sense. It’s going to be a big issue in the next few days, I guarantee it.”