Apple shareholders reject CEO succession proposal

A plan for Apple's board to disclose a CEO succession planning policy in writing is rejected

Apple's shareholders rejected a proposal in which the company would have to adopt and disclose its CEO succession planning policy.

The proposal called for Apple's board of directors to amend the company's corporate governance policy to adopt a CEO succession planning policy, and to annually produce a written report on the plan.

There was a large shareholder turnout at the Apple annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California, but the succession planning proposal was rejected, said Clark McKinley, a spokesman for CalPERS, a public pension fund that holds Apple stock, and whose members were at the meeting. CalPERS, which holds approximately US$229 billion in assets, was in favor of the adoption and disclosure of a CEO succession planning policy.

"Apple is a great company that we're pleased to have in our portfolio. But great and smart companies also should have transparent succession plans for their owners," McKinley said.

The proposal was initially put forth by Central Laborers' Pension Fund and was supported by multiple organizations including Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). The organizations said shareholders needed to know that a succession plan was in place in case of an emergency. Apple however recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal, saying it would expose confidential information to competitors, which was not in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.

The vote came in the wake of Apple's announcement in January that CEO Steve Jobs was taking medical leave of absence for unspecified reasons. Jobs has taken multiple leaves of absence, and the company has mostly held back information related to his health, which has been of increasing concern to shareholders. The proposal was put on the ballot prior to Apple's announcement Steve Jobs' indefinite leave of absence.

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