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Apple has emerged victorious from its annual shareholders’ meeting, securing support for all of its proposals despite some controversy and disagreement. The meeting, which is a legal requirement for the tech giant, saw nine separate proposals being discussed, including ones from Apple and from shareholders.
Going into the meeting, Apple was recommending that all of its proposals should be approved and that none of the shareholders’ ones should.
The first two proposals, both from Apple, were regarding the election of directors, which were deemed perfunctory. Similarly, Apple proposed retaining Ernst & Young as its auditor once more, which was also approved. The third and fourth proposals were both made by Apple and related to pay.
Apple requested shareholders to approve its Executive Compensation plan, which was fundamentally the same as in previous years. Potentially more controversial was the Frequency of Say on Pay Votes, but Apple successfully got it to stay the same.
The fifth proposal discussed was the first to be posed by shareholders, which was a Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination Audit Proposal. Some shareholders wanted an annual examination of Apple’s impact on these issues, but Apple argued that it already had an existing approach to pay and diversity, persuading a majority of the shareholders’ meeting to reject the proposal.
The sixth proposal was also tabled by shareholders and related to Apple’s connections with China. Some shareholders wanted an annual audit specifically reporting on how much Apple remains dependent on China. Apple argued that it already provides this information in its voluntary reporting and Securities & Exchange Commission filings, and this proposal was also rejected.
The seventh proposal saw shareholders seeking a change in Board Policy regarding how Apple board members may communicate with shareholders. Apple won this argument, arguing that too many prescribed limitations could potentially detract from the Board’s functioning.
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Separately, shareholders also tabled a proposal regarding Racial and Gender Pay Gaps. Shareholder and activist investor Arjuna Capital claimed that Apple’s reporting ignores “structural bias” against women and minorities. However, Apple persuaded a majority of shareholders at the meeting that it already reports sufficiently adequately on pay, inclusion, and diversity.
The final proposal at the meeting regarded Shareholder Proxy Access Amendments, which concerned the right of shareholders to propose candidates for board directors. Apple pointed out ahead of the meeting that no shareholders sought changes to the existing rules last year, and therefore, it wanted to reject the proposal, which it successfully did.