Apple’s board has recommended against a shareholder motion that would commit it to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.
The motion, proposed by the Apple shareholder Antonio Avian Maldonado II, would require the board of directors to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy” if it were voted in by a majority of shareholders.
Maldonado, who is declared as owning at least $2,000 in Apple stock, argues in the proposal that Apple’s board and senior management “presently fail to adequately represent diversity (particularly Hispanic, African-American, Native-American and other people of colour).”
The proposal “recognises the company’s commitment to diversity and the uniqueness of experience, strength, culture, thought and commitment contributed by each employee; however, it does not ignore the company’s senior management and board of directors diminutive level of diversity and its painstakingly slow implementation”.
Outside of general statements about the benefits of diversity, however, Maldonado’s proposal is slim on details of what would be required from Apple. When it comes to concrete requests, it limits itself to asking Apple “to assist investors in evaluating the company’s effectiveness in meeting its commitment to equal opportunity and diversity in senior management and board of directors, in any meaningful way that would not cause the company to breach the assurances of confidentiality and privacy that it has made to its employees.”
The proposal, which was revealed in Apple’s proxy statement released in the run-up to next week’s first quarter results for the 2016 financial year, was not welcomed by Apple’s board, which has recommended shareholders vote against it.
“This proposal would require the board to adopt an accelerated recruitment policy for increasing diversity among senior management and the board. We believe that the proposal is unduly burdensome and not necessary because Apple has demonstrated to shareholders its commitment to inclusion and diversity, which are core values for our company,” the board said in its advice to shareholders.
It argued that Apple’s support for female and ethnic minority students, as well as its policy of actively seeking out “highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which Board nominees are chosen“, has more practical upside than the “accelerated recruitment policy” requested by the proposal.
The proposal will be voted on at Apple’s 2016 AGM on 26 February.
Apple publishes statistics about the diversity of its employees, revealing that in 2015, 54% of its US workforce was white, 18% asian, 11% hispanic and 8% black. In “leadership” roles, however, 63% of employees are white, 21% are asian, 6% are hispanic and just 3% are black, and Apple’s executive team is overwhelmingly made up of white men.
This article was written by Alex Hern, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 19th January 2016 13.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010