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Cali pension fund wants Apple to allow majority board voting

updated 03:50 pm EST, Sun February 5, 2012

Calpers wants Apple board policy change

California's public sector retirement system, Calpers, is hoping to push Apple to give it and other shareholders more control over the company's board of directors. The organization told the FT [reg. required] that it wanted a "governance upgrade" where board members are elected or rejected directly based on majority votes. At present, votes can't actively oppose a member, and only one vote is needed in favor to keep a board member in place if no one is contesting the seat.

Calpers tried this last year but was turned down, and is facing opposition again ahead of the 2012 Apple shareholders' meeting on February 23. Apple has objected in both instances because it was worried that low voter turnout might oust a director even if the majority of the votes are in its favor.

The organization has been on a campaign to make majority voting a staple of other companies and, along with others, ans convinced about 29 companies to make such changes. Persuading Apple to make such a change may be difficult, however, both because of its ongoing success with the existing board as well as the close connections between board members and Apple leadership, including the late Steve Jobs.

Only a few other changes are rising to the forefront at the meeting, such as a National Center for Public Policy Research concern that Apple's political stances on issues might favor board members, such as an attempt to reduce greenhouse gases that would favor the environmental activism of Al Gore. Apple seldom makes its opinion public, but it has been pro-environment in recent years and designs products with that in mind.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +5

    Meanwhile..

    the union of the McDonald's on the 53th avenue wants Apple to start selling beer and lower their price by 10%...

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005

    +6

    Calpers

    Why didn't Calpers invest in a company that already has this in place rather than trying to fix something that obviously isn't broken at Apple? If they don't like the way the board works, they should never have invested in AAPL.

  1. facebook_Dana

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012

    +4

    Apple's doing fantastic...

    ... so let's do whatever we can to s**** it up.

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jul 2006

    -1

    Politicizing the board

    Giving a heavily politicized organization like Calipers more control of the company's board of directors would be a bad move. Al Gore's presence on the board has already made Apple look silly with those who've never bought the now-fading global warming hysteria, and it has angered environmentalists who know about Gore's own carbon-bloated lifestyle. Apple doesn't need more of that. It needs less.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003

    +3

    Wow

    So they want to try and fix something that isn't broken. I guess they know better... And I don't think Al Gore has any thing to do with being more environmentally friendly in all this. My guess would be the green peace report cards and public pressure plays a bigger part in being environmentally better. And to act as if this is a fault just shows everything wrong with current corporate and share holder structures. Profits at all cost, s**** the environment. s**** the people. Just wrong on all levels. Perhaps Apple should buy back the shares from Calipers and ban them from owning share...

  1. mytdave

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000

    +3

    Unbelieveable

    These people just wont go away. IOW "we want our hooks in you so we can control the board and destroy your company too." Don't let it happen Apple!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    no

    What is unbelievable is all the idiots here who have no idea how corporations work. Here, let's see if we can make it easy for you:

    - A company sells stock.
    - Owning stock means you own a share in the company.
    - Since you are a part-owner of a company, you might feel you want the company to work the way you believe a company should work. So you put in a request for ALL the owners of a company to vote on your idea.

    But I guess you all love the Apple do-nothing board of people. Maybe if they had this rule, you could have gotten Eric Schmidt off the board sooner and saved all that iOS intel from landing in Google's hands. Or you could finally kick that a** Bill Campbell of Mac-hating intuit off the board.

    but, no, let's leave all the buddies and friends on the board. I mean, Apple's making money, so everything must be great!

    (hey, I think that's what Ken Lay said about Enron too!).

  1. sibeale1

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006

    -2

    Another opinion

    I respectfully disagree. Generally, large funds like Calpers and TIAA-CREF support "good governance" measures like this because they result in better, healthier companies and, yes, more profits. Most companies would prefer less daylight and don't want "outsiders" poking their noses in the business. Boards are supposed to have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders, but often this responsibility is not taken seriously. True, it's hard to complain about Apple's ability to make money, as least for now, but in the absence of its visionary chief, maybe this would be a good time to reconsider changes such as the one proposed by Calpers.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    Re: Politicizing the board

    Al Gore's presence on the board has already made Apple look silly with those who've never bought the now-fading global warming hysteria, and it has angered environmentalists who know about Gore's own carbon-bloated lifestyle. Apple doesn't need more of that. It needs less.

    Except it was Steve Jobs who put Al on the board, not some political group. And the global warming hysteria is fading because news organizations bore easily and need to find the 'next big thing' all the time.

    Plus, I have never heard one group or real person criticize apple for having Al Gore on it's BOD except some anti-gore folks. But no objective "We like Al, but he's hurting the company" comments at all.

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