Calpers presses Apple to change director election process

“Apple will face fresh shareholder pressure at its annual meeting this month to change the way it elects directors,” Dan McCrum reports for The Financial Times.

“Calpers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest US public pension fund, has called for the largest US company by market capitalisation to allow directors to be elected by majority voting,” McCrum reports. “At present, Apple shareholders can only withhold their vote on an election of a director, rather than vote against. If a director is unopposed he only requires one vote in favour to retain the post, irrespective of how many votes are withheld.”

McCrum reports, “At the February 23 meeting, Apple faces additional shareholder proposals asking for greater disclosure of political donations, and an advisory vote on directors pay. The National Center for Public Policy Research has also proposed that Apple publish a ‘conflict of interest report’ detailing possible conflicts of interest between the company and its board members. The group is concerned that ‘Apple’s policy on greenhouse gas regulations was developed to personally benefit a board member’: Al Gore, the former US vice-president, a global warming activist whom the NCPPR says has ‘personal financial interests in companies that would profit from government regulation of greenhouse gases.’ A spokesman for Mr Gore did not respond to a request for comment.”

Read more in the full article here.

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Apple Board member Al Gore mocked at Apple shareholders meeting – February 26, 2010
Apple board member Al Gore gets option to buy 10,000 shares – March 24, 2008
Proxy advisory firm advises Apple shareholders withhold votes for Al Gore, other Apple board members – March 4, 2008

24 Comments

    1. Typical union mentality. Ask for more when you won’t do more. Calpers has been riding an incredible success story with AAPL and want to ‘kill the fatted calf’ without regard to future generations. I hope the union gets what they truly deserve.

      1. Why so bitter about unions, 3I3c7ro? Some unions have gone overboard with their demands. But unions exist because of excessed on the company side of the equation. Workers banded together to defend themselves against exploitation and mistreatment. It is part of the checks and balances process, very similar to the judicial, legislative, and administrative branches of government. It is not the most efficient form of government, but it appears to have fewer flaws than most of the alternatives.

        Few things in life are as simple and straightforward as you appear to imply. If all unions in the U.S. were abolished today, it would not magically solve our problems.

        And, in the spirit of your post, may *you* get what you trult deserve.

        1. Yes yes we are all familiar with the history of Unions in America.
          However as a resident of the once great state of Ca. I can tell you that the Public Unions play a large role in dragging this state into a morass of debt & disfunction.

          Unions, like any bureaucratic organization typically begin with a singular purpose that fills a void. Once that void is filled, they morph into self serving beasts with 3 primary purposes, a) find ways to justify existence/growth beyond the original purpose, b) impose their will in order to demonstrate relevance, c) oppress/silence any dissenting or opposing internal/external views/organizations.

          1. The only union I am familiar with, CSEA, is only concerned with preserving the rights of the workers. The rights to work, and not be over run with decisions to outsource. They do not ask for more than what is needed, they participate in layoffs of employees for the needs of the organization and demand that if a layoff were to occur, that the work performed was either not necessary or otherwise is not outsourced. Typically outsourcing costs more than an employee.

            Outsourcing as we all know can be a bad thing, especially when it shows that there are kick-backs to the decision makers. This has been an issue as of late. It’s illegal. A well run union can help prevent that.

            This is just my experience. If anything changes I will let you know.

      2. CalPERS is not a union nor does it have anything to do with unions. You do not have to belong to a union to have CalPERS, but you have to be a California Public Employee. It is funded by the employees who contribute, and in certain situations a percentage portion is also contributed by the agency they work for. Contributions are negotiated by either a union, association or affiliate. The portion that is paid by the state agency is apart of the total compensation package that ultimately comes out of employee wages. IE: If the agency does not contribute to CalPERS then the worker’s wage goes up, as indicated by compensatory payouts to non-empolyee contractors who may perform the same tasks as full time employees.

        CalPERS is not a public parasite, but is an agency owned and run by the public employees who belong and contribute. It is very successful by careful oversite. They are not guided by corporate bribes or outside politics, and routinely try to guide publicly traded organizations to make policies in the interest of the public as a whole, like a watch dog, or such.

        However I don’t necessarily agree with their request for Apple, as I believe what Apple is doing may a good way control how the whole organization runs. I mean, a king can be a good thing. Certainly it prevents the stock holders from arbitrarily forcing Apple to pay out dividends. BODs have been known to ruin companies. If the current system works for Apple, then maybe that’s not a broken thing to fix.

  1. Irrespective of how you feel about Al Gore (I’m no fan), the real question you should consider: what if he was selected, BECAUSE of his known (or perceived) stance on environment as well as his political affiliation in the first place. Who’s to gauge and arbitrate assets from conflicts? Shareholders, or a team with a great track record (some even may claim Apple’s unprecedented success is the best in the history of business)?

    Having a professional politician on your board, particularly one who is a former US vice president and a stone throw away from being a chief, isn’t the worse thing in the world. It helps that there has not been any public rift and the company has been sailing fine.

    Sure he can be a little more than mantle piece, perhaps, but that still might earn some behind scene access into Washington where other firms need to employ heavy duty lobbyists for the same.

  2. He’s a phony, hypocrite and an embarrassment. Even the tree huggers laugh at him. He serves no useful purpose on the board. His membership profits only himself and his ego. He needs to retreat back to his huge estate and write more books about things he knows nothing of.

    1. Have you considered that maybe he’s real gift to the board by being invisible and not get in the way. He probably knows his limitations, and allows the real players like Jobs and now Cook to run the show. He even helps out with little books and apps when he can, but no real controversy. That has to count for something. I mean, surely, he’s a million times better than that Schmidt.

    2. Stop playing as if you “know” anything, it’s a bit dirty weekend. Pun intended. You don’t know any tree huggers and you don’t speak for me on any global issues. You obviously don’t understand why Gore is on the board so STFU.

  3. You’re not supposed to make money off of saving the planet, that defeats the whole purpose.

    You’re only supposed to do it for the warm, fuzzy feelings you get from know you saved lots of warm, fuzzy animals.

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