Rumors are rolling around that various music industry execs were offered AAPL stock (Apple Computer) in “gracious thanks” for the deals put in place for the iTunes music store. Who knows if the truth behind this matter will ever see the light of day. In case anyone is wondering however, the act of accepting personal gifts of stock for doing corporate deals, if not illegal, is arguably highly unethical. The executive holds a fiduciary responsibility to employees and shareholders. Personal gifts call into question just whose best interest it is that the executive is serving, not to mention, the gifts arrive courtesy the position of the firm. Even all those little gifts of swag, from lame t-shirts to cell phones, we see littered in the bags of execs would belong to the firm not the individual, unless some deal is put in place stating otherwise.
The entertainment industry revolves around people perhaps more than any other industry. As a result, issues like the one above get used and abused on a daily basis. Its quite common for people to consider themselves the personal means by which deals get done, ignoring the resources the firm provides – huge catalogs of music or film, the hard work of 1000 other employees, or big piles of cash and physical assets.