Feature

Business columns: Even CEOs deserve a little privacy

Do we really want to force CEOs to disclose their medical records? asked Matthew Lynn in <em>Bloomberg.com.</em>

Matthew LynnBloomberg.com

“Ever since it became clear that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs was more seriously ill than the company had revealed, calls for more disclosure of his medical records have grown louder,” said Matthew Lynn. But do we really want to go down this road?

If we took the critics’ demands to a logical conclusion, we would be bombarded with daily updates not just on Jobs but on aging execs such as Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, 86, and News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, 78. Warren Buffett, 78, who happens to be among those saying Apple “should have told markets more than it did,” would have to check in with Berkshire Hathaway shareholders every morning.

“This is crazy.” First, “senior business people have as much right as anyone else to privacy on personal matters.” And second, no company—not even Apple—“is dependent on one person, no matter how it may appear.” Were Jobs to step down tomorrow, Apple’s assets, brands, and culture would endure. Apple shareholders have a legitimate claim to a piece of the company’s future profits, but they don’t have the right to pry into the CEO’s medical files. 

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