Apple Updates Corporate Bylaws on Diversity Following Criticism Over Lack of Female Leaders
Apple has come under criticism from major shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group over the absence of women on its board and throughout its top-level rankings, reports Bloomberg.
“There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium, which manages $1.3 billion. “It’s all white men.”
According to the report, the shareholders met with Apple representatives several times over the past few months to address the company's lack of female executives. The shareholders intended to bring the issue to a vote at Apple's shareholder meeting on February 28, but backed off once Apple agreed to address the issue through new language in the company's corporate charter [PDF link].
Apple is now adding the following language to the charter of the board’s nominating and governance committee: “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.”
While the statement was included in the company’s proxy for the past several years, it hadn’t been part of the company charter, a governing document. Apple also vowed to continue discussions with shareholders about ways to improve diversity, Ruoff said.
Currently, the only woman serving on Apple's board is former Avon CEO Andrea Jung, who was elected to the position in 2008. The company is also set to add Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to its executive team in the spring, as she will become Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores.
Apple's 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders will take place at the company's 1 Infinite Loop headquarters on February 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM Pacific Time, where votes on eleven proposals related to director reelection, compensation, and more will be held.
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