What is the level of disclosure by companies that would be considered enough? Does Steve Jobs of Apple need to tell everyone and all his investors updated on his health and his indefinite medical leave on Martin Luther King’s day? Is that fair to investors who have the right to know all material information about the company’s affairs? Is that fair to Steve Jobs who has a private life too?
I feel Jobs’ case is different in the sense that this company would founded by him and again given another spirit while it was almost bankrupt back in 1997. Knowing it’s the second highest valued corporation after Exxon Mobil and the level of involvement Jobs has had to all the projects not only as a manager or an administrator, but also as an engineer and passionate lover of ideas and inspiration, investors associate the company’s innovation and success with Steve Jobs’ presence too. Ebullience and grim mood are all the various faces of the market, but investors as a whole feel that it’s not the Apple Corporation as an entity only, but the mix of Jobs’ innovation and spirit with the company’s team that is the hidden recipe behind the company’s success so far. So then, in one way, investors are rightful in being nervous on hearing of this indefinite leave.
Disclosures should be fair, transparent and in plain language. It should communicate everything important and material to the case in hand, and Steve Jobs’ health is one of those material information in Apple’s case.