Apple Inc. (AAPL) Investor Could Make History With Diversity Proposal

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Apple shareholders are putting pressure on the company to increase the number of non-white executive and directors next year. History could be made next year with a vote on a proposal the iPhone maker has been trying to crush, says a report from Bloomberg.

Apple against the proposal

An Apple investor who is a resident of New York and London submitted a resolution requiring the iPhone firm to offer high profile roles to people of color so as to bring racial diversity. In September, Antonio Avian Maldonado II, who owns Apple’s 645 shares, submitted the proposal for an “accelerated recruitment policy.” Maldonado said he was looking at the photos of the directors with his teenage son, who questioned him about why every member was white. This spurred him to act.

Apple had told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it does not believe it necessary to include the proposal in its proxy materials and feels it is an attempt at “micromanagement” of recruitment. It further said that it is trying its best to attract minorities, but that it “has no power to ensure that its recruits will accept offers.”

Workforce diversity – a matter of concern

In a letter on Dec.11, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance said the agency does not agree with the iPhone firm. Apple has yet to decide whether it will bring the matter to a vote at the 2016 annual meeting or not. The meeting has not yet been scheduled. It is possible that the company will not include the matter on its proxy ballot, and this would likely lead to an enforcement action by the SEC. There has been no comment from the agency about any possibility of this, however.

Maldonado, the creative director for Insignia Entertainment, a music company, said the board is “a little bit too vanilla,” and, “I want to nudge them to move a little bit faster.” He further said that the SEC’s response to Apple’s objection has proven that what he has been saying is correct. Maldonado said he was shocked by Apple’s response.

Silicon Valley has been witnessing a lot of debate on the issue of diversity over the past few years. Activists have been arguing that there are very few minority or female engineers and executives working with the biggest tech companies and hottest start-ups.

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