Why Sculley Might Not Bite Apple Image Remakers

Was John Sculley, who was pushed out of Apple Computer more than three months ago, paid big money to enlist his aid in pending lawsuits against the computer maker? That's how Apple CEO Michael Spindler explained his predecessor's generous $750,000 one-year "consulting fee"--part of a multimillion-dollar golden parachute--when an investor complained at the Cupertino (Calif.) company's annual meeting on Jan. 26. Spindler said Sculley's fee was a "goodwill" gesture to ensure his participation in pending lawsuits. Most notably: Apple's appeal of a copyright suit it lost against Microsoft and a shareholders' class action brought last July. The latter claims Apple made misleading statements about its financial health, which it denies.

But why pay the fat fee at all? Sculley is named in the shareholder suit, so he would be involved in the court case anyway. And his counsel in the copyright suit surely was exhausted during the action's five-year history.

Sculley, who earned $1.47 million in salary and bonus at Apple in 1993, certainly enjoyed a fond farewell. In addition to the three-quarter million, he got an extra $1 million based on years of service. That's not all: Apple bought Sculley's Lear 55 jet for $2.8 million. And it will buy his vacant home in tony Woodside, Calif., now listed for $3.1 million.

Sculley isn't talking since the news that Spectrum Information Technologies, where he's now the $1 million-per-year CEO, is being investigated by the Securities & Exchange Commission because of stock gyrations last spring (before his arrival). Spectrum, based in Manhasset, N.Y., says it expects the SEC will find no wrongdoing.

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