Or did a lot of CEOs just have amazingly good luck?
A stock option gives the recipient the right to purchase stock at a set price.
Clearly, the Enron trials have not closed the book on corporate fraud.
A new boardroom scandal is roiling Wall Street: stock options backdating.
Those options give John the right but not the on the date of the grant.
The board formally grants the stock options to John every year at its January board meeting.
The investigation "found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates." The committee hastens to add that Jobs "did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications." In other words, he didn't recommend backdating his own option grants.Granting stock options to employees is a generally accepted and perfectly legal form of compensating employees. Critics of backdating argue that the practice is difficult to detect and thus encourages boards and executives to use it to synthesize more creative compensation packages.In our example, backdating the options is the same as giving John Doe a check for ,000 -- without recording that ,000 on the within two business days.Take this example, from The Wall Street Journal, which began investigating the practice last fall: "Suppose an executive gets 100,000 options on a day when the stock is at .Exercising them after it has reached would bring a profit of times 100,000, or million.For instance, if the board meeting is on January 3, 2012, and Company XYZ stock closes at per share that day, then the exercise price of John's 2012 stock are backdated, then his exercise price is only per share.