Disney CEO Bob Iger was one of the first people to learn about Steve Jobs’ pancreatic cancer back in 2006, a new book about Steve Jobs says.
According to upcoming Jobs biography, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” Jobs told Iger about it just 30 minutes before the $US7.4 billion deal between Pixar and Disney went through on January 24, 2006.
“My cancer is back,” Jobs told Iger, the book writes, according to Fast Company. Until then, only Jobs’ wife and doctors knew that Jobs had gotten rediagnosed with cancer.
“I’m telling you because I’m giving you a chance to back out of the deal,” Jobs said.
As Disney’s CEO, Iger had fiduciary duty to tell other stakeholders about Jobs’ health risk and its potential impact on the deal. But Iger decided not to tell anyone about Jobs’ cancer, except for Disney VP Alan Braverman, and the deal ended up going through.
The book writes:
He said, “I’ve made myself a promise that I’m going to be alive for Reed’s graduation from high school.” [Reed is Jobs’s eldest son.]
So I say, of course, “How old is Reed?”
He tells me that Reed is fourteen, and will be graduating in four years. He says, “Frankly, they tell me I’ve got a fifty-fifty chance of living five years.”
“Are you telling me this for any other reason than wanting to get it off your chest?” I asked.
He says, “I’m telling you because I’m giving you a chance to back out of the deal.”
So I look at my watch, and we’ve got thirty minutes. In thirty minutes we’re going to make this announcement. We’ve got television crews, we’ve got the board votes, we’ve got investment bankers. The wheels are turning. And I’m thinking, We’re in this post Sarbanes-Oxley world, and Enron, and fiduciary responsibility, and he is going to be our largest shareholder, and I’m now being asked to bury a secret. He told me, “My kids don’t know. Not even the Apple board knows. Nobody knows, and you can’t tell anybody.”
The book, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” is due for release on March 24.
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