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Lie Research Leads To Dismissals

McAfee said Wednesday that it has fired its president and accepted the resignation of its CEO amid a widening scandal regarding stock options accounting. The firing and resignation are the latest high-profile casualties of what has become a massive scandal regarding the timing of and accounting for stock options grants. The practice may have led to billions of dollars worth of misstatements, according to University of Iowa associate business professor ERIK LIE. Lie estimates that as many as 15 percent of all options granted between 1996 and mid-2002 were back-dated, with a smaller percentage in more recent years. According to some estimates, that could represent costs of as much as $100 billion tied to the scandal, from legal fees and restatement costs to lost market value. Lie noted that options backdating is itself not illegal, but if companies misled regulators or investors by filing false statements about when grants were made, there could be legal exposure.


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