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Oracle Chief Quits as Director of Apple

September 21, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Software mogul Larry Ellison resigned from Apple Computer Inc.'s board Friday in a move that analysts attributed to investors' demands for more vigilant directors.

Ellison, the flamboyant chief executive of Oracle Corp., had attended fewer than 75% of Apple's board meetings during each of his five years as a director, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. No other Apple director missed as many meetings during that time.

Ellison stepped down after concluding that his attendance record wouldn't improve in upcoming months, given his duties at slumping Oracle and his upcoming bid in the America's Cup yachting regatta.

"My schedule does not currently allow me to attend enough of the formal board meetings to warrant a role as a director," Ellison said.

Ellison's spotty attendance at Apple's board meetings hadn't been an issue until a wave of corporate accounting scandals sharpened Wall Street's focus on the watchdog role of company boards.

His exit leaves Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple with five board members, including CEO Steve Jobs.

Ellison, with an estimated fortune of $15 billion, didn't receive cash for serving on Apple's board. Apple began paying its directors with stock options in 1997. Ellison held 70,000 Apple stock options, according to the company's most recent SEC disclosures.

Apple's shares rose 29 cents to close at $14.87 on Nasdaq.

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