The Irish Independent reports that Taoiseach Brian Cowen will have to sack two senior and two junior ministers if he accepts proposed public sector cuts.
The chairman of the so-called An Bord Snip Nua, Colm McCarthy, is recommending that Mr Cowen "review" the entire operation of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
It would mean Mr Cowen would have to sack Arts Minister Martin Cullen and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Eamon O Cuiv, as well as their junior ministers Martin Mansergh and John Curran.
A government source said Mr McCarthy's agency would "advise of the need for a review of the whole departments and how they operate and the rationale for keeping them in their present format or for keeping them at all".
If the Government decides to split the departments and transfer their responsibilities to some of the other 13 departments, it would leave Mr Cullen and Mr O Cuiv without a key ministerial position.
If Mr Cowen accepts the recommendations, it will have huge ramifications within his own party.
But if he doesn't, it will be seen as portraying a lack of political courage to take tough action as the cost of the public service escalates.
The Government will consider the radical proposal as it battles to keep a lid on public sector pay.
New figures published by the Central Statistics Office yesterday confirmed the average weekly earnings in the public sector (excluding health) rose by 3.4pc in the 12 months to March despite the worst recession in living memory. This compares to a rise of 3.2pc in the year to December.
Average weekly earnings in the public sector here rose by 12.2pc from March 2006 to March 2009, making Irish civil servants among the highest paid in the EU.
The proposed overhaul of departments would also facilitate a Cabinet reshuffle, which Mr Cowen had already pencilled in for the autumn.
Mr O Cuiv's department could be replaced by a new Department of Culture, which would take responsibility for some aspects of arts and sport, with tourism tipped to transfer to the Department of Enterprise.
That would leave Mr Cullen without a portfolio, unless Mr Cowen decided to switch him to a new department as part of a general reshuffle.
It has also been widely speculated that Tanaiste and Enterprise Minister Mary Coughlan will face demotion in the wake of widespread criticism of her performance.
Her department could also be reshaped, with some of its responsibilities going to a new department focusing on labour and employment.
If the Taoiseach decides to review the make-up of the Government departments, it will mean an anxious summer wait for all his senior ministers.
But it will also ensure that they remain committed to seriously campaigning for a 'Yes' vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.
If Mr Cowen decided to reduce the number of 15 government departments, he is not legally prevented from doing so.
Under the Constitution, the Government can have no fewer than seven and not more than 15.
Fianna Fail TD Mattie McGrath, who has repeatedly called for the abolition of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, last night described it as one of the "sleeping departments" and said its functions could be easily merged into other departments.
"There are huge cuts coming down the line. It's a department we don't need. We don't need a full department. We should have more economic and enterprise departments at this point in time to work our way out of the mess," Mr McGrath said.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is due to finally receive the An Bord Snip Nua report this week. The report, which outlines how the Government can obtain €5bn in cutbacks ahead of the December Budget, will also recommend a significant downsizing of the public sector, which saw its numbers increase by over 70,000 in 10 years.
The Irish Independent also reports that Anglo Irish Bank has received a key report into its corporate governance practices in recent weeks -- but full publication is likely to be held off pending the outcome of a flurry of investigations into the nationalised lender.
Declan Moylan, chairman of law firm Mason Hayes and Curran, was hired by the bank within days of news breaking last December of former chairman Sean FitzPatrick's practice of hiding bank loans from shareholders and auditors.
Mr Moylan was asked to focus on the issue of directors' loans as he conducted the review. He reported to Frank Daly, former chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, who joined Anglo's board as a 'public interest' appointee.
Mr FitzPatrick avoided disclosing up to €122m of loans from Anglo over an eight-year period by temporarily transferring them to Irish Nationwide Building Society at the September close of its financial year.
The loans, together with Irish Life & Permanent's controversial €7.5bn of deposits with Anglo last September, and the sale of a 10pc stake in the bank to a circle of its developer clients last summer, are the focus of a number of probes. Bodies investigating aspects of the bank's affairs include the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Garda Fraud Squad, the Financial Regulator and a number of professional organisations.
The Government and the bank are under immense pressure not to say anything that would prejudice any potential criminal or civil proceedings.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Anglo is keen to implement the recommendations Mr Moylan has made on tightening up corporate governance in the group. These are expected to be published in due course.
The bank revealed last month that Mr FitzPatrick's outstanding loans jumped to €106.8m at the end of March from €83.8m six months earlier, as total outstanding loans to directors, including top brass who resigned in the reporting period, slipped by €4m to €175m.
"The redrawing, shortly after September 30, 2008, of an amount repaid shortly before that date from deposits held with the bank was the main reason for the increase in the loan balances during the period," the bank said in the report.
Anglo set aside €31m in provisions to cover loans to former directors to reflect a deterioration in the collateral they had offered for the borrowings. Group chairman Donal O'Connor declined to say, citing customer confidentiality, which of the eight directors that stepped down in the reporting period were covered by the writedowns.
Mr O'Connor said, however, that all of the directors were up to date on their repayments at that time. He subsequently told an Oireachtas committee that a number of staff still in management positions had impaired loans, but that the bank would pursue all customers to recover borrowings.
The meeting heard Labour Party finance spokeswoman Joan Burton slam the culture surrounding directors' loans in Anglo, saying a number of senior people at the bank became "players" in the property boom and not just lenders.
The Irish Times reports that forner C&C chief executive Maurice Pratt received €2.19 million from the ailing drinks firm when his contract was terminated last year following a collapse in its share price as sales and profits declined.
C&C paid a total of €5.32 million to Mr Pratt and three senior colleagues who also left, in payments classified under “compensation for loss of office” in its newly published annual report.
The firm subsequently recruited a new management team led by the former chief executive of rival drinks firm Scottish Newcastle, John Dunsmore.
Brendan McGuinness, former managing director of the cider division, received €1.26 million “on termination” when he retired from the board in April 2008.
Brendan Dwan, former finance director, received €1.08 million “on termination” in May 2009 as part of a €1.64 million remuneration package. James Muldowney, former director of strategy and development, received a €658,000 termination payment as part of an €831,000 remuneration package and a separate pension “augmentation” costing €135,000.
These payments were made public by C&C as its chairman,Tony O’Brien, said in the annual report that the response of Mr Pratt’s team to the challenges it faced was “less than” satisfactory.
On the appointment of Mr Dunsmore and two other former Scottish Newcastle executives to CC, Mr O’Brien said “it was necessary to terminate the contracts of the former team, which was costly”. This cast new light on the departure of Mr Pratt, who said when leaving in October that he decided to “stand aside” to allow a new chief to bring fresh thinking and impetus to the business.
Mr Pratt received a termination payment of €1.73 million and a separate pension “augmentation” of €452,000. He also received €572,000 salary, €197,000 pension allowance, €22,000 in other remuneration and benefits in kind of €18,000.
The architect of C&C’s flotation, Mr Pratt saw the firm’s shares reach almost €14 in 2007 before declining drastically as a drive to build up its Magners cider brand in Britain fell foul of bad summer weather and increased competition from Scottish Newcastle.
C&C shares, which traded below €1.50 as Mr Pratt left the company, closed last night at €2.42, up four cent.
“The conclusions of the remuneration committee were that the company was legally obliged to pay these sums,” Mr O’Brien said.
The Irish Times also reports that a new investor is set to save parts of the troubled bathroom fittings group Qualceram, but the plc itself is likely to be liquidated with no payout to shareholders.
Qualceram was placed under court protection from its creditors on both sides of the Irish Sea in April, when David Hughes was appointed examiner to the company, and the same firm took over as administrators of its British businesses.
Yesterday, the company said that four of its subsidiaries have signed a deal with an investor which will put money into its Irish operations, and which plans to continue distributing the group’s brands in Ireland and Britain.
The statement did not name the investor, but it is understood to be an international player in the construction sector.
It made no comment on Qualceram’s British operations.
The statement said that as Mr Hughes was unable to secure funding for the plc itself, he would apply to the High Court to have it wound up.
“The examiner has informed the company that it is highly unlikely that this process will result in any distribution to the shareholders of Qualceram,” it added.
Mr Hughes will apply to the court to have the examinership extended in the case of its four subsidiaries.
Before the investment deal can go ahead, creditors have to agree to a scheme of arrangement which the court must then formally approve.
Yesterday’s statement said that the examiner plans to call meetings with the group’s creditors in due course.
Qualceram ran into trouble as a result of the construction slump. Much of the company’s business was focused on supplying house builders.
It emerged earlier this year that the company had been in talks with its landlord, WM Carey, and its banks seeking the waiver of some of the conditions of its lease that would allow it to sell surplus property close to its Wicklow base in order to raise cash.
This would have resulted in its landlord being able to call in letters of credit for €2.6 million, obliging the company to pay WM Carey this sum. The group wanted this waived. The banks were involved as they issue the letters of credit.
Late last March the company acknowledged that these talks were “challenging”.
It subsequently de-listed its shares from the Irish Stock Exchange, which was a precursor to going into an insolvency process.
The Irish Examiner reports that average pay in the public service, excluding the health service, is now €50,600 – €12,000 more than the average industrial wage, Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures have revealed.
The CSO also reveals that in the period from March 2006 to March 2009 public sector pay rose by as much as 18% in some quarters and that the total number of public sector employees went up by almost 20,000 to 371,200.
However, the CSO also found that in the first three months of this year, the numbers employed in the sector had actually begun to decline with a drop of 2,900.
According to the latest analysis of public sector pay rates prison officers are the highest earners, receiving an average of €1,252 per week or €65,000 a year.
Across the public sector, the average pay increase over the last three years was 12.2% from €867.62 per week in March 2006 to €973.04 in March this year.
The CSO figures come just days before the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure, An Bord Snip Nua, presents its final report on public sector expenditure to Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan. The report is believed to recommend 400 spending cuts totalling €5 billion.
Commenting on the CSO report and the impending An Bord Snip Nua report on public sector expenditure, Mark Fielding, the chief executive of business lobby group ISME, said public service costs needed to be curtailed.
"Unbelievably, as unemployment soars, employment in the public sector increased by 3,000 in the 12 months to March," said Mr Fielding.
Mr Fielding went on to suggest that a failure by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to make the An Bord Snip report public would be an abdication of responsibility.
However, the country’s largest solely public sector union, IMPACT said the increase in public sector numbers was a strong indication of the soaring demand for public services.
The union’s general secretary Peter McLoone said: "A growing population of older people has ongoing health and welfare needs, and a growing number of newly unemployed people need services we all hoped they would never need."
An Bord Snip’s report will be handed to the Finance Minister by Friday but it is unlikely to become public until mid-July.
Sources have suggested that among the recommendations are a reduced Garda force, the means testing of child benefit and welfare cuts of up to €1.5bn. The number of public sector workers also looks set to fall by up to 30,000.
The Financial Times reports that Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, cast aside her image as European champion of fiscal discipline on Monday as she launched her re-election bid with a manifesto calling for higher public investments and €15bn in tax cuts over four years.
“The question is: How can we ensure Germany emerges stronger once the crisis is over and the cards have been reshuffled in the world,” she told delegates of her Christian Democratic Union gathered in Berlin to endorse the manifesto. “The answer is we need growth.”
With Germany’s September general election now 90 days away, Ms Merkel’s focus suggests the CDU candidate will be a different character from the chancellor who spent much of this year fending off calls from abroad urging her government to spend more to combat the crisis.
Ms Merkel has repeatedly warned against runaway deficits and loose monetary policy in Europe and has pressed fellow government heads to develop “exit strategies” and chart swift paths back to fiscal rectitude.
On Monday she conceded investments and tax cuts might have to be paid for “with money we don’t have”, adding the only alternative would be “to keep our hands in our laps”. She said the next government would have to invest heavily in research and education if it were to retain its industrial fabric through the downturn.
“Of course, we will have to come back to a situation where we don’t spend more than we earn. But in order to get there, we need to do two things: we must invest in the future, that is education and the environment.
“The financial and economic crisis will present the next government with challenges of a magnitude we haven’t seen in 60 years,” she said.
The speech was Ms Merkel’s second effort in two days to stamp out internal criticism of her manifesto and enforce maximum party cohesion in the run-up to the vote.
Ms Merkel’s promised tax cuts would be small compared with the €80bn ($112bn, £68bn) in growth-boosting measures already adopted by her government and a bank rescue package worth up to €500bn. Yet given an expected 2010 federal budget deficit of €86bn, twice the postwar record, political rivals and opposition parties have accused Ms Merkel of making promises she cannot deliver.
In an initial clampdown on internal dissent, Ms Merkel said on Sunday that, if elected, she would forgo tax rises over the next four years. On Monday, she said her calls for a massive value added tax rise during her 2005 campaign – a position that nearly cost her the chancellery – had happened “under completely different circumstances”.
The FT also reports that eurozone economic confidence recovered more than expected this month, even as idle capacity in the region’s industrial sector hit a record high, according to a European Commission survey.
In the latest sign that the pace of economic contraction has decelerated, the Commission reported that its eurozone “economic sentiment indicator” rose 3.1 points to 73.3 in June, the highest since last November. Optimism rose among consumers, in the service sector and to a lesser extent in industry, it said.
The latest rise was the third consecutive increase from the low reached in March, but the Commission pointed out that the indicator remained below the level reached at the end of the last trough in late 1992. “A sustained return to positive growth remains a distant prospect in the eurozone,” said Martin van Vliet at ING.
Such confidence surveys are regarded as good indicators of likely trends in economic activity and economists said the latest reading pointed to a second-quarter contraction in eurozone gross domestic product of about 0.5 per cent. That would follow contractions of 1.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent reported in the fourth quarter of 2008 and in the first three months of this year.
However, evidence of a sustained recovery has yet to feed through convincingly into “hard” data, for example for eurozone industrial production, raising questions about the predictive power of such surveys.
Details of the Commission survey showed the scars left by the worst recession to hit continental Europe since the second world war. Industry has been especially badly hit by the slump in global demand, and the survey showed the rate of capacity utilisation in eurozone manufacturing in the three months to June was the lowest began since the survey started in 1990.
The estimated number of months’ production assured by orders on hand in manufacturing also fell again, to just 2.8 in the second quarter, from 3 in the first three months of the year. However, that was still higher than the low of 2.6 reported in the third quarter of 1996.
At the same time, the survey showed consumers increasingly seeing prices falling rather than rising. The indicator showing consumers’ expectations for prices in the next 12 months fell to a record low in June. Eurozone inflation data on Tuesday are expected to show the annual inflation rate turning negative for the first time.
The New York Times reports that a criminal saga that began in December with a string of superlatives — the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history — ended the same way on Monday as Bernard L. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum for his crimes.
Mr. Madoff, looking thinner and more haggard than when he pleaded guilty in March, stood impassively as Federal District Judge Denny Chin condemned his crimes as “extraordinarily evil” and imposed a sentence that was three times as long as the federal probation office suggested and more than 10 times as long as defense lawyers had requested.
Though many questions still surround the case, the judge’s pronouncement offered a brief sense of resolution, followed by a short burst of applause and one stifled cheer from the victims who filled the soaring Lower Manhattan courtroom.
Only a few moments before, Mr. Madoff had apologized for the harm he inflicted on the clients who had trusted him, his employees and his family. He blamed his pride, which would not allow him to admit his failures as a money manager.
“I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I understand that,” he said, leaning slightly forward over the polished table, his charcoal suit sagging on his diminished frame.
“I live in a tormented state now, knowing of all the pain and suffering that I have created.”
At the end of his personal statement, Mr. Madoff abruptly turned to face the courtroom crowd. He was no longer the carefully tailored and coiffed financier. His hair was ragged. His eyes were sunken into deep gray shadows. His voice was a little raspy, and he stopped on occasion to sip water.
“I am sorry,” he said, and abruptly added: “I know that doesn’t help you.”
Nine victims, some choked by sobs or swiping at tears, told the court of the damage he had caused, describing him as a psychopath and a monster who had destroyed their lives.
“It feels like a nightmare that we can’t awake from,” said Carla Hirschhorn, a physical therapist who said her daughter was juggling two jobs in her junior year to help pay for college expenses that their lost savings were supposed to cover.
Michael Schwartz, who said Mr. Madoff had stolen money set aside to sustain his disabled brother, expressed the hope that “his jail cell will become his coffin.”
In meting out the maximum sentence, Judge Chin pointed out that no friends, family or other supporters had submitted any letters on Mr. Madoff’s behalf that attested to the strength of his character or good deeds he had done.
Mr. Madoff returned to his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan while federal prison officials determine where he will serve his sentence. The defense has 10 days to decide whether to appeal the sentence.
Although Judge Chin suggested that Mr. Madoff be assigned to a prison in the Northeast, at the request of the defense, the judge said the Bureau of Prisons would decide what kind of facility will become his permanent home.
No members of Mr. Madoff’s immediate family were in court.
In his statement, Mr. Madoff acknowledged the “legacy of shame” he has created for his family.
His wife, Ruth, later released a statement — her first since her husband’s arrest — expressing her grief for the victims and her sense of shock and betrayal when she learned of the crime.
Mrs. Madoff has not been charged in the crime and insists that she did not know of it until her husband told her just before his arrest. But she acknowledged that her silence, imposed by lawyers protecting her own interests, “has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims.” That, she added, “is exactly the opposite of the truth.”
She said she felt “devastated” by the harm her husband had done. “I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused,” said Mrs. Madoff, who has forfeited all but $2.5 million in assets. “The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years.”
Many victims also accused regulators and lawmakers of betraying them for decades by failing to stop Mr. Madoff, and failing them again by not helping them deal with their financial hardships since they learned their savings had evaporated.
Judge Chin cautioned one speaker that those entities “are not before me,” but, in a larger sense, the Madoff case seemed to put an entire era on trial — a heady time of competitive deregulation and globalized finance that climaxed last fall in a frenzy of fear, panic and loss.
The blame has been spread wide — to arcane credit-default swaps, to lax enforcement of weak regulations, to poorly understood risks and badly managed financial institutions.
But with his arrest on Dec. 11, Mr. Madoff, a senior statesman in the private corridors of Wall Street who was respected for his vision and trusted by tens of thousands of customers, put a human face on those abstractions.
Mr. Madoff’s luxurious lifestyle, including a penthouse, yachts and French villa, all quickly became fuel for public outrage.
Every move in the case was closely watched, including his confession to his sons, Andrew and Mark, who were in his business; his guilty plea to 11 counts of various financial crimes in March; and his wife’s legal efforts to save some family assets from a sweeping government forfeiture.
The fury increased in January with Congressional testimony from a whistle-blower who had repeatedly alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission about his suspicion that Mr. Madoff was operating a gigantic fraud. An internal investigation is now under way at the S.E.C. to determine why the agency did not detect Mr. Madoff’s scheme and shut it down years ago.
The S.E.C. and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, a government-chartered program to compensate customers of failed brokerage firms, were criticized repeatedly in the courtroom statements by the victims on Monday, and at a rally of victims held near the courthouse afterward.
The litigation already filed in and around the Madoff case will help shape how regulators, the courts and SIPC respond to large-scale Ponzi scheme losses in the future. How the losses of victims will be addressed is just one of many open questions.
The criminal investigation is continuing, as prosecutors try to determine who else bears responsibility for the crime. So far, only Mr. Madoff’s accountant has been arrested on criminal charges, but securities regulators have filed civil suits against several of his long-term investors, accusing them of knowingly steering other investors into the fraud scheme for their own gain.
And the bankruptcy trustee has sued more than a half-dozen hedge funds and large investors, seeking to recover more than $10 billion withdrawn from the fraud in its final months and years. It is uncertain how much money he will be able to recover to share among the victims and how long that effort will take.
And the sentence itself is likely to leave a mark as well, according to legal experts on white-collar crime.
In remarks before announcing his decision, Judge Chin acknowledged that any sentence beyond a dozen years or so would be largely symbolic for Mr. Madoff, who is 71 and has a life expectancy of about 13 years.
But “symbolism is important for at least three reasons,” he said, citing the need for retribution, deterrence and a measure of justice for the victims.
Judge Chin said he did not agree with the suggestion by Ira Lee Sorkin, Mr. Madoff’s lead lawyer, that victims were seeking “mob vengeance” through a maximum sentence.
“They are placing their trust in the system of justice,” he said, adding that he hoped the sentence he imposed would “in some small way” help the victims to heal.
Several former prosecutors called Judge Chin’s decision somewhat surprising but appropriate.
“The judge sent a powerful deterrent message and an ominous signal to possible co-conspirators,” said George Jackson III, a lawyer with Bryan Cave and a former federal prosecutor in Chicago.
Richard L. Scheff, a lawyer with Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads and an assistant secretary for law enforcement for the Treasury Department, said the magnitude of the sentence “demonstrates real concern for the harm caused by Madoff to so many victims.”
He added, “Am I surprised? Yes, to a degree — but I strongly suspected that the sentence would be tantamount to a life sentence.”
To Robert S. Wolf, with the law firm Gersten Savage, the sentence “sent a clear and resounding message that Judge Chin felt that Madoff had not come clean and told all about the enormity of his criminal activity and others who participated.”
But James A. Cohen, an associate professor of law at Fordham, said he was troubled by the sentence. “I don’t think symbolism has a very important part in sentencing,” he said. “I certainly agree that a life sentence was appropriate, but this struck me as pandering to the crowd.”
The victims who spoke in the courtroom were unanimous in their demand for a maximum sentence, saying that Mr. Madoff had forfeited his right to live in society. They pointed to the extent of the crime: a fraud that ensnared millionaires, private foundations, a Nobel Prize laureate and hundreds of small investors who lost their life savings to an investment guru they had trusted completely.
Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the fraud, cited Dante’s “The Divine Comedy,” in which the poet defined fraud as “the worst of sin” and expressed the hope that, when Mr. Madoff dies — “virtually unmourned” — he would find himself in the lowest circle of hell.
Prosecutors said Mr. Madoff deserved the maximum term for carrying out one of the biggest investment frauds in Wall Street history. Mr. Madoff’s lawyers said he should receive only 12 years.
After Mr. Madoff’s victims finished speaking, his lawyer, Mr. Sorkin, said the government’s request for a 150-year sentence bordered on absurd. He called Mr. Madoff a “deeply flawed individual,” but a human being nonetheless. “Vengeance is not the goal of punishment,” Mr. Sorkin said.
Even with a lesser term, Mr. Sorkin added, Mr. Madoff expects to “live out his years in prison.”
The NYT also reports that Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and chief executive, officially returned to work on Monday after a five-month medical leave. But for some investors the issues raised by Apple’s secrecy about Mr. Jobs’s health problems and liver transplant are likely to linger.
“Steve is back to work,” Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, said on Monday. “He is currently at Apple a few days a week and working from home the remaining days.”
As was the case with Mr. Jobs’s leave, his return to work was accompanied by only minimal disclosures.
Mr. Dowling declined to say whether Mr. Jobs’s role had changed from what it was before his leave, and he declined to discuss his health. He also would not say when Mr. Jobs first returned to work at Apple. Mr. Jobs was at work on the corporate campus a week ago, according to a person who saw him there.
The Apple chief’s official return comes just before the self-imposed deadline for his medical leave. When Apple announced his leave in January, the company said he would be back at work by the end of June.
Mr. Jobs underwent a liver transplant about two months ago, but word of the operation did not surface until earlier this month. Last week, a hospital in Tennessee confirmed that he had surgery there and said his prognosis was excellent.
News of the operation rekindled a controversy among shareholders and corporate governance experts about Apple’s scant disclosures regarding the health of Mr. Jobs, a survivor of pancreatic cancer. His return to work is not likely to quell the debate.
“We don’t know much,” said Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “We know he is back at work and that he had a transplant. Given how important he seems to be to the value of this business, we ought to have the facts in front us that the board had in bringing him back.” During his absence, Apple said little about Mr. Jobs other than repeating that he would be back at the end of June. Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management, said Apple’s insistence on secrecy damaged the company’s credibility.
“At every stage, the rumor mill was more informative and accurate than the company’s external communications,” Mr. Sonnenfeld said. “The fact that they’ve gotten away with it sets a very low bar.”
With Mr. Jobs’s return widely expected, Wall Street’s reaction to the news on Monday was muted. Apple shares closed at $141.97, down 47 cents.
Tim Cook, the chief operating officer, who managed the company during Mr. Jobs’s absence, kept its business humming, analysts said. But Mr. Jobs’s vision, attention to product detail and ability to inspire employees are unmatched and have shaped Apple’s success, so the hope is that he will stick around, said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. “Everyone is glad to have him back, but is understanding that things can change,” Mr. Munster said.
In Silicon Valley and beyond, critics and fans of Mr. Jobs alike said they were elated by his return to work, which appeared to signal that his health had stabilized.
“The entire Valley is happy to see that he is back,” said Paul Holland, a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist. “Certainly many of us had our doubts.”
Mr. Holland, who is a partner at Foundation Capital, said the return of Mr. Jobs was good news for the region and the industry because of the broad impact that Apple has had.
“To have a hit company that has been booming for several years is very important for the symbolism it represents for the Valley, as well as for the impact it has on business,” Mr. Holland said.
Mr. Jobs’s return was also welcome news on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., Mr. Dowling said. “We’re very glad to have him back,” he said.