01:13 AM

1.2.07: Apple probe focuses on Anderson, GC Heinen

While Apple has taken pains to clear Steve Jobs of any wrong-doing in its option backdating troubles, the company's internal investigation focused on two unnamed executives who may have fraudulently altered documents. But everybody knows who those executives are - they were forced out during an earlier phase of the investigation: former general counsel Nancy Heinen and CFO Fred Anderson. So says The Wall Street Journal today (and read it today, while the online Journal is free).

WSJ: Apple Probe Spotlights Two

Within the clubby circles of Silicon Valley, Apple's allegations have caused a stir among people who know the former Apple executives. A person familiar with the matter says Apple may argue that, as financial chief, Mr. Anderson should have been responsible for proper accounting of backdated options. In Ms. Heinen's case, Apple believes it has evidence that Ms. Heinen, as board secretary, was aware of improper documentation that said a board meeting occurred in October 2001 to approve a big option grant to Mr. Jobs, when no such meeting occurred.

Anderson joined Apple in 1996 during the dark, pre-re-Steve days and survived a purge of Apple's horrendous management team. During his tenure, he resolved a major liquidity crisis, executed a massive restructuring that returned the company to sustainable profitability, and reenergized Apple’s revenue and profit growth, his his bio says. He joined the board in 2004 after leaving the CFO post.

After Apple found preliminary evidence of irregularities in past option grants last year, Mr. Anderson spent considerable time at the company's headquarters helping an independent investigative team comb through company records to more closely examine past options grants, people familiar with the matter say. It shocked him when Apple's lawyers later indicated to him that he might become a target of the investigation, these people say. As a result, Mr. Anderson resigned from Apple's board in October.

Heinen is an old Jobs hand, serving as GC at NeXT before following him to Apple. She oversaw a legal department of 40 attorneys and 100 total employees.

Rich Gray, a friend of Ms. Heinen's who worked with her at a small Silicon Valley law firm two decades ago, said he found it hard to believe she did anything wrong at Apple. "She's very smart and she has tremendous personal integrity," said Mr. Gray, a senior vice president and general counsel at Internet marketing company Claria Corp. "I just don't see it happening."

Her friends say she left for reasons unrelated to the stock scandal. Neither Anderson nor Heinen grabbed unreasonable wealth from the company. She sold $85 million in shares and he sold $76 million.