Apple succession plan proposal rejected

09:46, February 25, 2011      

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Apple shareholders rejected a proposal on Wednesday that called for the company to disclose a succession plan for its chief executive.

The rejection came a month after Apple CEO Steve Jobs went on an indefinite medical leave for unspecified problems - an absence that could be related to his previous bout with pancreatic cancer or his 2009 liver transplant. Jobs did not attend the meeting, which was led by Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook and general counsel Bruce Sewell.

Apple Inc announced the preliminary vote on the non-binding proposal at its annual shareholders meeting at the company's Cupertino headquarters in California. The company did not provide the voting breakdown.

The Central Laborers' Pension Fund, which owns 11,484 shares of Apple stock, called for a succession plan to ensure "a smooth transition" in case Jobs leaves as CEO.

The proposal didn't ask Apple to name whom it planned to appoint, but it wanted the company to come up with a three-year plan for changing leadership and an emergency plan. The plan would be reviewed annually by Apple, and a report on it would be shared with stockholders.

Like many shareholder proposals, even if this one passed, it would only have served as a formal request that Apple share its succession plan.

Apple, which advised shareholders to vote against the proposal, said it already conducts such planning internally, but warned that its disclosure would reveal confidential information and hurt the company's ability to recruit and retain executives.

The meeting was also an opportunity for shareholders to ask questions about Apple and its CEO. But while the audience peppered management with questions about the health of its supply chain and competition between the iPhone and smart phones using Google Inc.'s Android operating software, there was little talk of Jobs.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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