In-House Counsel

GC Scolded for Backdating Warning Lands New Job

The former general counsel of KLA-Tencor who sparred with the company’s then-CEO over stock options backdating has been named the new top lawyer for another Silicon Valley company.

Stuart Nichols will make $250,000 a year at his new employer, MIPS Technologies, the San Jose Mercury News reports. He is also eligible for stock options and a bonus of up to $200,000 a year, according to the offer letter (posted by the Mercury News).

Observers told the Recorder that Nichols may be the first general counsel to be offered a new general counsel job after leaving a company accused of backdating.

Nichols is known for his exchange of memos with KLA-Tencor’s then-CEO Ken Schroeder. Nichols warned Schroeder about legal requirements surrounding options backdating in a March 2001 memo. Schroeder replied with an e-mail that read: “Help me, don’t just tell me how to follow a strict interpretation of rules. I need a ‘wartime counselor,’ not someone who can recite page and verse.”

Schroeder now faces SEC civil charges along with Nichols’ predecessor, Lisa Berry, in connection with options backdating.

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