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​Apple Shareholders Rejected Proposal To Improve Company’s Diversity Issue

by Leo Shvedsky

March 3, 2017

Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world and beloved by millions and millions of adoring fans who will wait hours in line to be the first to purchase one of their new iPhones or other devices. But like much of the tech industry, they also have an increasingly obvious problem with gender, racial and cultural diversity that is perhaps most glaring in the company’s leadership.

But for the second year in a row, the company’s shareholders rejected a seemingly benign proposal that would task the company with beginning an effort to recruit more diverse members across its senior management and board of directors.

In fact, as USA Today reports, shareholders didn’t just reject the proposal, they did so in overwhelming fashion, with 95 percent voting against the proposal from shareholders Tony Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management, which in part would task Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy ... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.”

Apple’s own numbers paint a bleak picture for diversity proponents. While the company sites marginally improved numbers, the facts remain clear: the company’s overall workforce is 56 percent white, with 9 percent Asians, 12 percent Hispanics and 9 percent African-Americans. However, the company’s senior management reportedly remains overwhelmingly white.

For its part, Apple claims their own diversity recruitment policy is actually better than the one offered by Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management. In the shareholding meeting before the vote, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly said: "We are focused on human rights and diversity, (and are) advocating for it around the world and increasing it in our own community.”

However, Maldonado tells The Verge that he never expected to win the vote. But if the proposal received even 6 percent support, that would meet a baseline allowing him to re-submit it next year. Instead, he says the company openly advocated that its shareholders vote “no,” saying:

“Apple basically duped the investors, to be quite honest,” he said. “They conned ’em to say, ‘Look, we're on top of it. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine.’ However, I believe that shareholders don’t have all information as to the background of the issue.”

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​Apple Shareholders Rejected Proposal To Improve Company’s Diversity Issue