updated 03:35 pm EST, Wed February 25, 2009
Apple board re-elected
Choosing at an annual meeting, Apple shareholders have voted to re-elect all members of the company's current board of directors. These include Al Gore, Intuit CEO Bill Campbell, J. Crew CEO Millard Drexler, Avon CEO Andrea Jung, Genentech head Arthur Levinson, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Harwinton Capital leader Jerome York. Most critical may be the re-election of Apple's own CEO, Steve Jobs, who together with the rest of the board will serve for at least one more year.
Despite its importance Jobs was absent from the meeting, in keeping with a medical leave set to last through June. The leave presents an unusual complication for the board, as one of its key members may be unavailable for half of the upcoming term. The vote is believed to represent a sign of confidence in Apple as well as Jobs however, which has been accused of having no backup plan in case its figurehead dies or is forced to retire.
Four shareholder proposals were additionally defeated at the meeting, including a Teamsters suggestion that the company should produce two reports each year listing the company's direct and indirect political expenditures. Apple directors have called the proposal "unnecessary and unproductive," while also admitting that it would expose private negotiations with trade associations to its rivals.
Likewise defeated was an AFL-CIO proposal calling for healthcare reform principles adopted from the Institute of Medicine, and another measure sponsored by groups including the New York City Office of the Comptroller, asking for more detailed reports on safety and sustainability issues, including global warming. The former was deflected as a matter for the US government, while the latter is said to already be provided on the Apple website.
The last measure to be defeated was one from the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, calling for a shareholders' advisory vote on executive pay. The board of directors has held to the position that pay is its own prerogative, and that controls on executive salaries could affect the ability to recruit new blood.