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Why Apple CFO retires early

Posted March. 07, 2014 03:53,   


Robert Reich, an American political economist, dropped by the room of his little son on one morning in 1996, when he was serving as secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Still half asleep, his son asked Reich to wake him up when the father comes home from work, no matter how late it would be. The son said that he just wanted to see if daddy was home. Shocked by the conversation, Reich resigned from his position the next day. In a contribution to the New York Times, Reich said he had decided to step down in order to take care of his children and spend more time with his family.

Apple`s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer is a key executive in charge of the company`s coffer over the last 10 years. After joining Apple in 1996, the 51-year-old CFO has presided over its investor relations sessions from 2004. Over the 10-year period, Apple`s annual sales revenue surged from 8 billion U.S. dollars to 171 billion dollars. He gained the confidence of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and incumbent CEO Tim Cook.

Despite his successful career, Oppenheimer plans to voluntarily retire in late September, handing his position over to Luca Maestri, the current vice president of finance and corporate controller. "After 18 years here, it is time for me to take time for myself and my family," said Oppenheimer. "For quite some time, I have wanted to … travel to interesting parts of the world; and something I have wanted to do for years— finish the requirements for my pilot`s license."A lthough he is entitled to 75,000 shares of Apple in stock grants if he stays at Apple until March 2016, he gave up the benefit. The shares that he gave up in return for his early retirement is currently valued at 40 million dollars.

No matter how high you go in social position or how much money you make, the end of the life of scrambling for honor or money will be vain if you lose your relationship with your family or personally feel empty. There is a saying that honor or money is rubber marble but family is glass marble. Therefore, it will be irrecoverably damaged if you drop and break it. Many aged people around us regret their life after spending their youth being too focused on work or something else rather than to pay attention to their families. However, it does not look easy for office workers to follow Oppenheimer`s suit because he is wealthy enough to enjoy his leisurely retirement.

Editorial Writer Kwon Sun-hwal (shkwon@donga.com)