“Apple Inc., facing behind-the-scenes pressure from some shareholders to add more female directors and executives, has taken a step to address the criticism and diversify its board,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg.
“The world’s most valuable company recently added language to a board committee charter vowing to diversify its board,” Satariano reports. “The move follows objections from shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group, who said they’re disappointed that the iPhone maker has only one woman on its eight-member board, and one incoming female member of the executive team that reports to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.”
“The shareholders met with Apple representatives several times in the past few months and said they would bring the issue to a vote at a Feb. 28 shareholder meeting. They said they backed off after Apple added language to the charter that promises to consider women and minorities as board candidates, without making any specific commitments,” Satariano 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.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Andrea Jung might beg to differ.
Satariano reports, “17 percent of board seats on Fortune 500 companies and 15 percent of executive officer positions were held by women in 2013, according to a report last month by Catalyst Inc., a non-profit researcher.”
MacDailyNews Take: There are currently just eight seats on Apple’s Board of Directors. Jung’s is one. 1 ÷ 8 = 12.5%. Apple is facing “criticism” — of such vehemence, by the way, as to be instantly placated by language being added to the charter without the company making any specific commitments — because the company is 4.5 percentage points off the Fortune 500 average.
Satariano reports, “Apple is now adding the following language to the charter: ‘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.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Whew, what a relief! As we all know, in a lot of places today, Washington D.C. especially, as long as we talk about doing something, or “include language,” it’s considered to be done. So, we’re happy to see that this is all taken care of! (dripping sarcasm)
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Diversity is good, but getting the absolute best would seem to be the better goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some members of the board, consciously or unconsciously, consider certain members, or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota?
This could also work in Apple’s and other company’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool could result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized BoD would be capable of delivering.
Regardless and of course, someday it would be nice for everyone to just be able to look at a group and only see people, not skin color and/or gender.