Sculley row grows as Spectrum auditors quit

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THE CONTROVERSY surrounding the former Apple chairman John Sculley and a small wireless data company escalated yesterday with the announcement that KPMG Peat Marwick had resigned as the firm's auditors.

Spectrum Information Technologies, which hired Mr Sculley as chief executive last October, only to see him resign on Monday, called the decision by the Big Six accounting firm 'arbitrary and unprofessional'. Mr Sculley, who hired KPMG only two months ago, has claimed that Spectrum recruited him without informing him of complaints about aggressive accounting techniques and possible insider trading by senior executives.

Spectrum, which filed a dollars 300m ( pounds 204m) countersuit against Mr Sculley yesterday, said KPMG's decision was not the result of any accounting disagreement - a fact confirmed yesterday by the firm.

It had resigned because of 'the highly charged climate of suits and countersuits surrounding the client', a spokeswoman said. 'But we don't want our decision to be seen as in any way critical of the accounting practices of this company.'

Spectrum shares, which lost more than half their value after Mr Sculley's resignation on Monday, made up some ground in active trading in New York yesterday.