Tate quits Rambus amid stock options probe

Former Rambus CEO leaves board as more details emerge about his role in the allocation of stock options.

Geoff Tate, the former chief executive of Rambus, quit the company's board of directors on Tuesday as more details emerged of his role in the allocation of stock options.

Last week, the company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was not able to release its quarterly results in time to meet the SEC's deadline. Such a delay can lead to the company being delisted from Nasdaq--a fate Juniper Networks is expected to suffer as it faces questions over the same issue.

The audit committee of Rambus, which licenses technology to computer chipmakers, said on July 19 that the board of directors had found discrepancies between the measurement dates for some stock option grants issued prior to 2006. On Tuesday, the company pointed out that during that period, "Geoff (Tate) was chief executive and the sole member of the stock option committee."

Under those circumstances, the board said in a statement: "To ensure that there is not even the appearance of a conflict of interest, Geoff felt he could best support the company by resigning from his position on the board as Rambus resolves these issues."

Tate was chief executive of Rambus between 1990 and 2005.

Rambus is not the only company to face questioning over the timing of stock options and the date they are announced. Other companies include Apple Computer, Juniper Networks, Brocade Communications Systems, Nvidia and Comverse Technology.

August has been a bad month for Rambus. Earlier in the month, the Federal Trade Commission made a judgement against the company accusing it of monopolistic behaviour and charging that it deliberately withheld "highly material" information from an industry group in order to impose royalties on competitors.

Colin Barker reported for ZDNet UK.

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