Apple Agrees to Board Diversity Following Shareholder Criticism

Apple board

Major shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group criticized Apple over the lack of diversity in its executive team. The two have said they are disappointed the iPhone manufacturer has only one woman on its eight-member board, and only one woman (who will join the company this spring) who will report directly to Tim Cook, Bloomberg reports.

“There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium, which manages $1.3 billion. “It’s all white men.”

Shareholders were ready to bring the issue to a vote at a shareholder meeting scheduled for February 28 but backed off when Apple went ahead and addressed the issue through new language in the corporate charter, in which it promised to “consider women and minorities as board candidates.” But the company was cautious enough not to make any commitments.

The Sustainability Group, working with Trillium, had about five meetings with Apple’s investor-relations team and worked out a compromise in which the company added new language to the bylaws for its board of directors, said Larisa Ruoff, who runs shareholder advocacy and corporate engagement for the Sustainability Group.

Apple is now adding the following language to the charter of the board’s nominating and governance committee: “The nominating committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which board nominees are chosen.”

The only woman and person in color appearing on Apple’s board is Andrea Jung, the former CEO of Avon Products Inc. Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, will join Apple shortly and will be the only woman on the company’s executive team.

Lack of diversity on Apple’s board was just one area where the company faced criticism from shareholders. Excessive executive compensation was another important area. You may recall that back in 2012 Apple’s top-paid executives took home more than $68 million, but last year compensations dropped to less than $4.3 million.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Kim

    for a company so progressive the apple executive board appears like an old man’s club. better start consider women and minorities, we all know apple wouldn’t be where they are today without women and minorities. for sure there are qualified candidates, however, whether they are welcomed or not is the important question.

  • Chrome262

    From wording on their charter they are welcomed, but do you really think they would even bother with excluding women or minorities? If they are qualified enough, then why not? The main issue is that Apple pulls from successful candidates all over the industry, and the fact is, there aren’t many women in the field to begin with. Minorities are a different story, but even with in minorities women represent a small percentage. When you keep pushing girls away from science you are going to get a boys club.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Hire the best people for the job regardless of which “group” they belong to. Hiring for the sake of increasing diversity is stupid.

  • Jeff Hughes

    And when you hire people based on the color of their skin, and their gender, you’ll end up with a “white-boys” club. Kinda like what we see in the above photo. LOL

  • joe smith

    Some common sense, thank you!
    Businesses want people who will make them the most money. That’s capitalism. People who are best for the job will get the job, its that simple. The bigotry and racism from these progressives is astounding and disgusting.

  • joe smith

    What an ignorant implication you bigot. The best will receive the job, that’s equality. To suggest a company like apple is intentionally not hiring good people due to which ‘group’ they belong to is moronic. Apple is a business that wants to make money, people who make apple the most money will get the job, Period! Or do you believe people should be hired regardless of their qualifications based on their ethnicity, race or gender? Stupid racist.

  • joe smith

    LOL isn’t racism so interesting? You’re disqualifying these individuals because they’re white? I smell a racist…

    Perhaps these people really are the best in their fields? Apple looks for the very best, and pays them top dollar, if white men are in that position so be it. What happened to being colour blind you bigot? I really hate to break it to you, but Apple is an American company. America is predominantly white. Tech is a male dominated field. Its not hard to reason that white men are at the top in this situation.

    I’ve met Toyota executives, and they were all Japanese men. Likewise with Honda. Is this an exampme of the yellow mans club? Who am I kidding, its only white men that are evil