The highly publicized resignation last week of Apple Computer Inc.'s chief financial officer, Joseph Graziano, reminded us of conversations we've had over the past few years about the frustrations of CFOs and the representation of shareholder interests at biotech companies.

Graziano's resignation was widely ascribed to his assessment, apparently rejected by Apple's chief executive and board, that the struggling personal computer maker be put up as an acquisition candidate. One does not have to think more than a nanosecond to conclude that such an issue is not foreign to the biotech sector, where advocates of consolidation most often blame the egos of CEOs, followed by the relative passivity of boards of directors, for the relative snail's pace of mergers and acquisitions.