Apple’s Upper Ranks Dominated By White Males, Say Shareholders

Apple board

Apple has too many white men in its upper ranks, say shareholders who are pressuring the company to add more female and minority directors to its board.

In response, Apple has added new language to its board charter claiming that it will consider more candidates who meet this criteria — noting that, “The nominating committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which board nominees are chosen.”

The move was made after shareholders Trillium Asset Management and the Sustainability Group expressed their disappointment that Apple has just one woman serving on its 8 person board: former Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung, who is also the only person of color on the board.

Former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts — who has been hailed as a possible future CEO for Apple in some quarters — will be the only woman on the company’s executive team when she starts work at the company this year.

“This is going to be a multiyear process. It is not going to change overnight,” Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium, has noted. “It will take some time for Apple to make the decisions they need to make and vet the possible candidates out there. But I think they are committed to doing that.”

Apple is the latest Silicon Valley company to come under fire for lack of diversity at its top levels: with both Facebook and Twitter having been previously faulted for similar decisions.

Related
  • Maxx1987

    I really don’t understand what the problem is, as long as the person is doing a good job it shouldn’t matter if it’s a male or female and what skin color the person has. It now looks like the shareholders are saying that Apple is discriminating when hiring people for the upper ranks.

  • Peteborota

    It’s not about ability it’s about ticking boxes and making sure you have at least one from each group to satisfy PR commitments.

  • lwdesign1

    This is sexist and racist politics at work, and I disagree with it completely. A person should hold ANY job by reason of his/her capabilities and expertise, not because quotas have been set on some artificial idea of “fairness” and “equal rights”. The best and most capable person for the job should be the one holding it, simply because the company as a whole benefits and becomes more profitable from his/her abilities. Running a business is not a personality contest. Who cares what the person’s sex or race is? Who cares if Apple senior execs are all white guys? You can bet your a$$ that Tim Cook would hire anyone who is capable and able to make the company better and more profitable. To force this artificially of gender and race politics onto a company is criminal, and shows a complete lack of understanding of how businesses are run. You can bet that Angela Ahrendts wasn’t hired because she’s a woman. Senior management expects her efforts to increase sales and customer satisfaction, and if she doesn’t do that, she’s history. The same goes for any of the guys on the team.

  • BryanG

    Ah, Corporate America (or should I say “Only in California?”). Let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings…

  • jeffbriant

    Ok so to make minorities happy let’s hire unqualified people and replace the people that are already on the board. Stupid. Comments like these will carry racism further and further into the future, they aren’t helping it at all. It’s like “Black people sit at the back of the bus” REVERSED. Makes racism worse.

  • theloniousMac

    Seems like the LA Times is learning from the NY Times. Hit pieces on Apple get attention.

    I’ve been trained not to see race when evaluating people. I’m proud that I have achieved this. I’ve been trained not to see gender when evaluating people. I’m proud that I have achieved this. Now the same people who’ve enlightened me tell me, you should see gender as long as your preference is for females, and you should see race as long as your preference is for non-whites.

    This is white guilt filled liberalism at its worst. The best candidate for any job should be the ONLY factor considered.

    There are two schools of thought at war in this country. One believes that equality matters more than anything else. We cannot all be equal. We are born with certain attributes and we choose certain paths. The other school of thought believes freedom matters most, and this I agree with. We should try to achieve equality in education and opportunity, but more than anything else, we should protect our freedom. Too much blood has been shed to acquire it.

    To call Apple a spectacular success story is an understatement. To change the way they do things for ridiculous reasons like having less white men is POINT BLANK INSANE. I have no doubt that they will hire females and non-whites if and when such people meet the requirements at the moment.

    Besides, Tim is gay. Doesn’t gay trump white male in the who is worth more world of liberals?

  • theloniousMac

    Seems like the LA Times is learning from the NY Times. Hit pieces on Apple get attention.

    I’ve been trained not to see race when evaluating people. I’m proud that I have achieved this. I’ve been trained not to see gender when evaluating people. I’m proud that I have achieved this. Now the same people who’ve enlightened me tell me, you should see gender as long as your preference is for females, and you should see race as long as your preference is for non-whites.

    This is white guilt filled liberalism at its worst. The best candidate for any job should be the ONLY factor considered.

    There are two schools of thought at war in this country. One believes that equality matters more than anything else. We cannot all be equal. We are born with certain attributes and we choose certain paths. The other school of thought believes freedom matters most, and this I agree with. We should try to achieve equality in education and opportunity, but more than anything else, we should protect our freedom. Too much blood has been shed to acquire it.

    To call Apple a spectacular success story is an understatement. To change the way they do things for ridiculous reasons like having less white men is POINT BLANK INSANE. I have no doubt that they will hire females and non-whites if and when such people meet the requirements at the moment.

    Besides, Tim is gay. Doesn’t gay trump white male in the who is worth more world of liberals?

  • DarthGeekonius

    Not surprised at the comments… people it’s about ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities. If you’re not qualified you shouldn’t get the job, but how would one access capability if the chance is never given?

  • brainkilla

    @DarthGeekonius

    And what if people have been chosen – and I believe the current ranks of top management selected under Jobs’ auspices have – according to their abilities? We’ve got to replace one of them by an insufficiently competent, but black person? Hispanic woman with inadequate skills? That’s not the principle of equal opportunities… not to mention it’s the state stepping on the toes of private sector. Look around, the market got so deregulated that a small number of people became enormously rich while getting us into the worst crisis since Great Depression, but the powers that be have to overregulate labour law in order to shove “equal opportunities” down our throats and hinder fair competetion? Stupid and shameful…

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , |