Apple taps IBM veteran as top lawyer

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Apple Computer, the maker of Macintosh personal computers and iPod music players, on Monday appointed Donald Rosenberg, a 30-year veteran of International Business Machines, as general counsel.

The appointment of Mr Rosenberg, a legal heavyweight and longtime industry veteran, comes as Apple grapples with the aftermath of stock options backdating problems that have sparked several lawsuits.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such a seasoned professional to our executive team,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and chief executive. Mr Jobs said Mr Rosenberg would bring a “broad range of experience” to the company, including experience in litigation, securities, intellectual property and antitrust cases.

Mr Rosenberg, who served as general counsel at IBM, will fill the role left vacant by Nancy Heinen, a longtime Apple veteran, when she left the company in May.

Apple is among the best known of more than 150 comapnies to have become caught up in the backdating controversy that has gripped Silicon Valley this year. Earlier this year, Apple said it would be forced to restate its financial results because of 15 instances of improper options grants between 1997 and 2002.

Last month, Apple said an internal investigation had found that Mr Jobs had been aware of improper backdating in “a few instances”. However, the investigation found that there was “no misconduct by any member of Apple’s current management team,” including Mr Jobs.

Shares of Apple rose 0.9 per cent on Monday to $83.83. The shares had risen from a low of $50.67 in July, driven by strong iPod and computer sales.

Apple has faced a number of legal challenges this year. In August, it agreed to pay $100m to settle a number of patent disputes with Creative, a Singapore-based maker of digital music players.

It has also faced pressure in Europe after French lawmakers passed a watered-down version of a contentious law designed to force the company to open its iTunes music software to rival music players.

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