Updated from 5:28 p.m. EDT
(AAPL - Get Report) said late Thursday that stock options granted on 15 dates between 1997 and 2002 were apparently backdated, and though CEO Steve Jobs was aware of favorable grants, he didn't benefit personally and "was unaware of the accounting implications."
In addition, the company announced that Fred Anderson, who served as Apple's CFO from 1996 to 2004, resigned from the company's board, believing it is in "Apple's best interests" that he go.
"I apologize to Apple's shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch. They are completely out of character for Apple," Jobs said in a statement. "We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again."
Apple reported the findings after a special committee of outside directors, lawyers and accountants completed
its three-month investigation
. The group examined more than 650,000 documents, including emails, and interviewed more than 40 current and ex-employees.
Apple said the investigation found no misconduct by
anyone on the company's current management team
. However, "the investigation raised serious concerns regarding the actions of two former officers in connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of stock-option grants," the company said.
"The company will provide all details regarding their actions to the
," Apple said.
The company said it will probably need to restate its historical financial statements to record charges related to the past options grants. Apple and its auditors have not yet determined what the charges will be, or what specific periods will need to be revised. Apple said it is continuing to inform the SEC of its findings.
As reported earlier, during the period of the grants which are under investigation, the company's board of directors consisted largely of
people handpicked by Jobs
-- many of whom had significant ties to him or to Apple.
Apple stock dipped 27 cents after hours to $75.11.