July 12, 2012 -- In the middle of the last decade, two business professors and a handful of Wall Street Journal reporters called attention to widespread backdating of employee stock options, launching a rich-hunt that cost numerous executives their jobs and five of them, at least for some time, their freedom.
Now, The Atlas Society’s Business Rights Center has published a book by Roger Donway on one of those five cases—and on the victim at its center.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Greg Reyes, who as CEO of Brocade Communications Systems increased its revenue by a factor of 20 in just three years, Rich-Hunt: The Backdated Options Frenzy and the Ordeal of Greg Reyes tells the story of Reyes’s two climbs to wealth—and his destruction by the adversary culture. Here’s a sample:
The vehemence of the clash between Reyes’s attorney and KPMG’s punctilio-obsessed accountant Neil Miotto was symbolic. It represented the clash of worldviews that had brought Reyes to trial. Increasingly, in the twenty-first century, America had declared its preference for Miotto’s clerkish, fill-out-the-forms approach to business. The first fruits were Sarbanes-Oxley; the second, Dodd-Frank. Wealth creators like Greg Reyes, with his entrepreneurial, eye-on-the-prize approach, were no longer wanted, as they had been in the days of Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Such men were now looked upon as dangerous at best and criminal at worst.