Apple gets clean sweep: Investors vote with the company on all proposals at annual general meeting
By Levi Sumagaysay
Investors agreed with all of Apple's recommendations at its annual general meeting Friday, passing all company proposals and rejecting all shareholder proposals.
A report on median pay gaps across race and gender came closest to approval among the five shareholder resolutions, receiving 34% of votes.
Among the investor proposals that failed to get a majority vote was a call for a policy that the board or a member would meet with shareholders who pass a resolution within three months of a majority vote by non-insiders.
In the resolution filed by Oakland, Calif.-based Nia Impact Capital, it said: "In our view, a high vote for a shareholder proposal indicates that investors believe insufficient attention has been paid by the company's management or Board to the issue at hand."
Kristin Hull, chief executive of Nia Impact Capital, told MarketWatch Friday that she was disappointed. The proposal got just 6% of shareholder votes, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday afternoon. Hull noted that influential proxy-advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (and Glass Lewis) had advised shareholders to vote against it, so the result wasn't surprising.
But Hull said it was a first-time resolution, and that she hopes the company, the board and other shareholders pay attention to the issue. Last March, another proposal Nia Impact Capital submitted, on the company's use of concealment clauses, received a majority vote. When she tried to talk with Apple board members about it, Hull said "they ghosted us. It was a pretty frustrating situation. We're all professionals."
In December, Apple released a report about its use of concealment clauses and announced that it would limit its use of nondisclosure agreements to allow workers to speak out about harassment and discrimination. After failing to hear back from the company about talking to its board months, Hull said Apple told Nia Impact Capital the week it released the report.
In the company's proxy and recommendation against the proposal: "The Board believes that its current approach to stakeholder engagement, rather than the overly prescriptive policy suggested by this proposal, best serves the interests of the Company and its shareholders by providing the Board with the appropriate flexibility to determine when, how, and through whom shareholder engagement is conducted."
A proposal for a civil rights and nondiscrimination audit also failed, garnering just 1% of votes. Shareholders passed a proposal for such an audit last year, and the company has said an audit is under way, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Other shareholder proposals that failed:
Investors approved the following company proposals: the election of its board of directors, executive compensation (including a pay cut for Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook), frequency of say-on-pay votes, and the ratification of Ernst & Young as Apple's accounting firm.
See: Apple will examine commitment to workers' rights after shareholder push
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03-10-23 1904ETCopyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.