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In SEC filings, top executives of corporations have to disclose their employment history for the past five years, in order for shareholders to judge their suitability for the posts that they hold. Perhaps a similar requirement should extend to certain other aspects of their lives.

This issue came to the forefront in connection with the pancreatic condition of Steve Jobs at Apple. Considering that one man represented the heart and soul of the company, his health was a serious concern for shareholders. Outlines, but probably not sufficient details, of his condition were disclosed on an ad hoc basis.

But perhaps the SEC (or some other regulatory agency) should mandate greater disclosures about the the health of top executives. This could fall into categories like audit opinions: 1) Unqualified opinion; Clean bill of health 2) Healthy, but "subject to" potential problems (such as overweight). 3) Healty is "excepf for" potentially serious health problems, disclosed. 4) A qualified opinion based on doubts about the executive's ability to remain a "going concern."

We would also like to see disclosures of changes in marital status (marriage or divorce) in the past five years disclosed. ("Widow(er)" hood would be exempted.) Marriage typically has either motivating or demotivating effects on executives, so shareholders need to know such surrounding facts.

It could be that a single executive's divorce might not be something to worry about. But a pattern of divorces in the executive suite of the same company might mean something. It could be a telltale clue that the pressures of the job are too hard on family life, or alternatively, that there are too many "temptations" at the office (as at Enron, whose notorious black "Enron card" singlehandedly accounted for half the "gentlemen's club" business in Houston).

Also, criminal convictions and major civil judgments within the past five or ten years ought to be disclosed. If 73-year old Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns were convicted of smoking pot 50 years go, that might not be relevant. If it were only 50 weeks or months ago, it would be.

Disclosure: Formerly (but not currently) long AAPL.

Source: What Should Top Executives of Corporations Have to Disclose About Their Personal Lives?