Shareholders Ignore Apple’s Request: New Directors Must Be Voted In

Shareholders Ignore Apple’s Request: New Directors Must Be Voted In

Pic by Scott McNulty (http://www.flickr.com/photos/blankbaby/84763497/)

A potentially major coup has happened at today’s Apple Annual Shareholder Meeting: ignoring the request of Cupertino itself, Apple’s shareholders have approved a measure that now requires a majority vote for the approval of new Board Directors.

That’s big. For the first time, any new appointment to Apple’s Board of Directors will require that the shareholders approve in majority any new appointee. That gives the shareholders a lot more power over the company’s future… and could potentially lead to some interesting power struggles down the road.

Other items that are being voted on today include Board of Director compensation, financial conflict of interest reports, disclosure of Political Contributions and ratification of Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s independent accounting firm.

In addition, we expect there to be a lot of discussion of what Apple is doing to address widespread allegations of worker abuse in Apple’s supply chain, as well as what Cupertino will do with its hoard of over $80 billion in cash.

What do you think about this news? Steve Jobs always wanted a degree of autonomy from the whims of shareholders, and this new rule would seemingly fly in the face of that. Is this just the first step towards Apple being run more like other publicly traded tech companies — and therefore the first step back down the path of mediocrity that Steve Jobs led Apple out of upon his return in the late 90s — or is this move just common sense? Let us know your thoughts.

[via MacObserver]

  • WVMikeP

    Wall Street is short-sighted.  The cash hoard is good for protecting the company during hard times.

  • Vision House Digital

    As much as we want to believe that Apple will continue to innovate and improve at the same pace as before, it just isn’t going to happen without Jobs. Some would even argue (not me) that the level of innovation will never be quite the same. I hope not. Certainly the company is more than Jobs. But I think the most obvious answer is usually the correct one: yes, this is a big step towards watering down that unique culture that made Apple what it is today. 

  • Shaunathan Sprocket

    They said Da Vinci was irreplaceable, then we got Tesla.  Steve may be gone, but there’s a possibility Apple may see his like again. 

  • Charles Lowndes

    Tim needs to grow a pair, no way Jobs would have even blinked when confronted by shareholders, allegations of foxconn mistreatment, and as for giving out the press roadmaps of OSX development before developers……What is Apple turning into? 

  • joewaylo

    Mrs. Jobs should step up to the plate. She should be on the board of directors or CEO even though he gave it to Tim Cook.

  • cottenhamr

    Very sad indeed. Apple is surely doomed to repeat its history without Jobs and his will to tell people to do it the right way or not at all.  I wonder if Google will bail them out this time. ;)

  • marcwitteveen

    Apple should be careful what they do, before they know it shares will drop and it’s going back in a downwards spiral where it might hit the same era as when Jobs was away from Apple. The only bad side here is that there is no Steve that will bring things back to order.

  • Jim

    First off, this was a non-binding shareholder proposal – the same proposal that was approved by shareholders and ultimately ignored by the board at last year’s meeting.  Secondly, it’s almost completely meaningless even if the board adopted majority voting.  There would have to be a severely under-performing director to receive insufficient votes to get elected. Last year no director received less than 97% support. Finally anyone put up for election is still going to be nominated by the board.  It’s not like shareholders can nominate outsiders to the board.

  • Adam Tuttle

    Nice job stealing a copyrighted photo. http://www.flickr.com/photos/b

  • AshBowie

    First of all, the Board of Directors doesn’t design or create Apple products, so this decision has nothing to do with innovation. The idea that shareholders are anti-innovation and want Apple to become a mediocre hack tech company is ludicrous. Shareholders are exactly that…they hold shares of ownership in the company and it is reasonable that they should have a say in who’s running it. That assumes that this proposal becomes realized, of course.

    And $80,000,000,000 isn’t “insurance”…if Apple stopped selling everything today, they’d be able to stay in business for years on their savings alone. It is exactly how it is described: a hoard of cash that is doing nothing to help the economy, create jobs, improve education, or anything. It’s irresponsible for Apple to do nothing with that money…even using one billion of their $80,000,000,000 for, say, outfitting poorer US schools with iPads would hardly endanger their financial standing, would be PR gold, and would actually help people all at the same time. I’m sure each of you could think of a positive thing for Apple to do with 1.25% of their hoard.

  • Rick

    How about a dividend? Reward your shareholders like all the other major players.

  • Ive

    This is TERRIBLE news… those guy may have the best intentions but they can’t help feel like they are the ones who know best although they are the ones that are the most mistaken related to innovation stuff

  • Dilbert A

    No worries.

  • Chris Durham

    The problem is that shareholders really have the most tenuous stake in the company’s success, particularly its long term success. Apple has the recipe for success – don’t screw with it. What kind of arrogance is that?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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