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Source Close to Apple Says Steve Jobs’ Cancer has NOT Returned

Arik Hesseldahl reports on BusinessWeek.com that he has spoken with a source very close to Apple, who has been very well informed about Apple’s Senior Executive members in the past. The source states that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has in fact, not had a return of pancreatic cancer.

After the earnings call last night I talked with a source who is close to Apple and who who has in the past proven very well informed on the concerns of Apple senior management. This source told me with near-certainty that Jobs’ cancer has not returned.

The concerns around his health have centered on two things: His thin appearance at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, and published reports in Fortune than in late 2003 after he first learned he had cancer, word of his condition wasn’t disclosed to investors for nine months. Having consulted with two outside lawyers, the board of directors decided that it wasn’t under any obligation to disclose anything.

Apple has for the most part remained silent about the health of its CEO. When questions were raised about his appearance at WWDC, spokeswoman Katie Cotton said he had been suffering from a “common bug,” and I’m willing to take that at face value.

But having undergone surgery to remove an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor from his pancreas — which is by all accounts a major surgical procedure and which required him about a month to recuperate — even a “common bug” has the potential to affect Jobs’ appearance. I think this, more than anything else, is the source of the concern.

He continues to report that Steve Jobs is definitely more crucial of a CEO than that of most other companies. While Steve Jobs is definitely the core innovator and visionary at Apple, other business plans will weigh heavily in on their future stock price. Unnecessary speculation about Steve’s health has made the stock price suffer long enough.

Since Jobs’ ability to do his job would logically be affected if his health took a turn for the worse, and since his role is unique at Apple and when compared to other CEOs in his peer group, that makes his health a material issue about which investors have a legitimate right to be concerned over the long term. The compensation committee has the right and the duty to ask Jobs directly if there is any reason, be it related to his health or for that matter anything else, that might cause him to be unable to do his job in the foreseeable future. It’s a reasonable and prudent question, and he has the duty to answer them honestly.

Investors definitely have the right to be concerned about Steve’s health. But they do not have the right to demand personal information, even if Steve is the CEO of a publicly traded company. Asking for information is one thing, demanding his personal health because you have a stake in the company is another. Nobody is forcing you to own the stock and if Steve’s health affects you that much as a shareholder, it is entirely within your rights to sell your Apple shares.


via BusinessWeek

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