Apple shareholders make another push to increase diversity at the senior and board levels

Next Story

Visual search startup Clarifai beefs up its AI team with a new San Francisco office

Apple shareholder Tony Maldonado is calling on Apple again to implement an “accelerated recruitment policy” in order to increase diversity at the senior management level and board of directors, according to Apple’s latest proxy statement. The proposal, co-written by shareholder Zevin Asset Management, specifically calls for an increase in the number of Hispanic, black, Native American and other people of color.

“The Company is at an advantageous position to be a leader in promoting diversity in senior management and its board of directors, based on its size, breadth and position as one of the largest companies in the world,” Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management wrote in the proposal. “Shareholders are concerned that low levels of diversity at the Company’s senior management and board level, as well as painstakingly slow improvements, are a business risk.”

Last year, Maldonado made a nearly identical proposal, but received support from less than 5% of the people who voted. In order for Maldonado’s proposal to get approved, it would need to receive a majority of the votes cast at the annual meeting of shareholders later this month.

Apple’s eight-person board of directors, which has just two women and one black person, recommends a vote against the proposal, just like it did last year. But instead of calling it “unduly burdensome,” as it did last year, the board used some toned-down language this time around, saying the policy “is not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity and made detailed information about our inclusion and diversity initiatives, and the progress we have made with respect to these initiatives, available on our website at apple.com/diversity.”

Apple also noted the initiatives it already has in place, such as its partnership with the National Center for Women & Information Technology and its $40 million partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which has resulted in Apple hiring 33 students from historically black colleges and universities as summer interns last year. But it’s worth noting that Apple doesn’t call out any efforts it has around increasing diversity at the top, which is what Maldonado is calling for.