Apple Inc. Shareholders Turned Down A Proposal To Diversify Top Management Again

Apple shareholders Tony Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management want greater diversity among the company’s top management, but other shareholders seem to be deferring from the thought. A proposal put forward by the two shareholders was turned down again, this time with 95% of shareholders saying no. The percentage of shareholders rejecting this idea is slightly higher than last year, according to The Verge.

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Apple urged shareholders to vote against it

Both shareholders wanted the iPhone maker to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy … to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.” Maldonado and Zevin believe that Apple’s top management has been quite reluctant in responding to diversity initiatives and that this will ultimately harm the company in terms of new opportunities or talent.

The shareholders who put forward the proposal knew it would not go through, but Maldonado was expecting at least a 6% vote so that he could appeal again next year. One reason could be that Apple persuaded shareholders to reject the proposal, notes The Verge.

In an SEC filing, the Cupertino-based company asked shareholders vote against the proposal, saying that they have “broader” diversity efforts in place. Such efforts include a $40 million partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and being a part of former President Barack Obama’s ConnectED initiative by pledging $100 million to deploy technology in schools across the country.

Maldonado hasn’t given up yet

Only a few days ago, Mic got its hand on a leaked shareholder email in which Apple did not respond to the request of the investors who wanted the company to work towards ensuring diversity in the upper ranks.

Despite claims that Apple’s top management supposedly has a broader view of diversity, the top ranks are still held by a handful of white men. About 82% of the company’s leadership is white, and historically, this has been the same, notes The Verge. According to its recent EEO-1 report filed in November, 73 of Apple’s top 107 executives and senior officials and management were white males.

Since the proposal received less than 6% approval, Apple can block the shareholders from tabling it or even distantly similar proposals for the next three years. Maldonado is, however, hopeful that there will be some way to push the diversity initiative, and he believes investors probably don’t have full information on the issue.

“It’s not over. It’s not down and out,” he told The Verge. “This is just the beginning of a long battle.