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Apple shareholders re-elected the company’s slate of directors, including Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and Al Gore, the latter over an objection from a shareholder upset over the former vice president’s decision to sell his Current TV to Al Jazeera.
“There is one comment about Al Gore, saying he should not be re-elected,” CNBC wrote in a live blog from the meeting Wednesday in Cupertino, Calif. “He is saying his sale of Current TV should disqualify him from serving on any ‘decent’’ board.”
Current TV was sold for a reported $500 million to Al Jazeera in January; Gore stands to make $100 million. Since then, environmentalists have taken him to task because Al Jazeera is partially bankrolled by the royal family of Qatar, with a multibillion-dollar fortune owed to oil. Gore also has taken heat from conservatives who perceive Al Jazeera’s news coverage as being anti-American.
The shareholder made the comment Wednesday just minutes after Apple CEO Tim Cook jokingly introduced Gore to attendees as “the inventor of the Internet.”
The rest of the board re-elected Wednesday consisted of Cook, chairman Art Levinson, Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, former Intuit CEO Bill Campbell and former Northrop Grumman CEO Ron Sugar.
Also at the meeting Wednesday, Cook hinted at new products, though he didn’t divulge specifics. Apple observers are predicting an Apple television set and a smart watch sometime this year.
A big topic at the meeting was what Apple should do with its $137 billion in cash. Along those lines, activist shareholder and Greenlight Capital founder David Einhorn has sued Apple to create a new class of preferred, dividend-paying stock. Although a judge so far sides with Einhorn, a proposal to do just that was scrapped ahead of the meeting.
“I strongly believe it was a silly sideshow, regardless of how the judge ruled,” Cook said, according to the CNBC live blog. “I don’t think the issue of returning cash to shareholders is silly; we’re seriously considering it.”
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