Pension Fund Calls on Apple to Adopt Majority Vote for Board Seats
NEW YORK - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) on Friday called on Apple to have unopposed board candidates elected only if they manage to attract a majority of shareholder votes.
The big pension fund, a key institutional investor, said it is once again bringing a non-binding proposal calling for majority voting to Apple's annual shareholder meeting on Feb. 23. Apple's current plurality vote rules allow board members to be elected by a single "for" vote as "withheld" votes are not counted.
Apple's board, which includes CEO Tim Cook and Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, so far has declined to adopt the proposal that shareholders voted on last year, the pension fund said.
"Apple needs a governance upgrade. An overwhelming 73 percent of shareowners supported this same proposal a year ago, and we"re once again calling on Apple to listen to its shareowners and adopt a voting standard that is widely considered a basic mark of good governance," said Anne Simpson, CalPERS senior portfolio manager who heads up the pension fund's corporate governance program. "Nearly 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 and 60 percent in the Russell 1000 have some form of majority voting standard, and for good
reason. It's a hallmark of accountability."