Apple Facing Criticism About Diversity Changes Bylaws

Adam Satariano, Bloomberg, January 6, 2014

Apple Inc. (AAPL), facing behind-the-scenes pressure from some shareholders to add more female directors and executives, has taken a step to address the criticism and diversify its board.

The world’s most valuable company recently added language to a board committee charter vowing to diversify its board. The move follows objections from shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group, who said they’re disappointed that the iPhone maker has only one woman on its eight-member board, and one incoming female member of the executive team that reports to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

The shareholders met with Apple representatives several times in the past few months and said they would bring the issue to a vote at a Feb. 28 shareholder meeting. They said they backed off after Apple added language to the charter that promises to consider women and minorities as board candidates, without making any specific commitments.

“There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium, which manages $1.3 billion. “It’s all white men.”

The new language shows how scrutiny of Apple’s diversity practices has now ramped up after other Silicon Valley companies faced questions over their male-dominated leadership ranks. Social-networking companies Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) were criticized leading up to their initial public offerings for not having any female directors.

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Apple is now adding the following language to the charter: “The nominating committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which board nominees are chosen.”

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Trillium and the Sustainability Group are groups that use their positions as shareholders to lobby companies for improved environmental protection, corporate governance and diversity within leadership ranks. Trillium successfully lobbied Apple in 2012 to add new language to the board’s audit and finance committee charter about privacy and the handling of customer data.

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Andrea Jung, the former CEO of Avon Products Inc., is the lone woman and person of color on Apple’s board, which otherwise includes seven white men all over the age of 50. Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry Group Plc, will be the only woman on the company’s executive team when she takes over Apple’s retail operation in the first half of this year.

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Cook has also been outspoken about improving equality since succeeding Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011. Cook and Apple have advocated legalizing same-sex marriages in the U.S., and for legislation that prohibits companies from discriminating based on sexual orientation. Cook recently gave a speech about his childhood in Alabama and how witnessing a cross-burning left a lasting impression on him to fight for equality.

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  • Puggg

    Apple products are mostly made in China? Nobody cares.

    The number of women on the Board of Directors? Big deal, emergency, crisis.

    • William Krapek

      Not completely. The brains of the iPhone/iPad were always made in America. As was the Gorilla Glass. And the new Mac Pro – a beautiful, elegant beast – was 100% Made in America. And see how tiny she is?

      What’s even more amazing is one site put all the parts together for a build-it-yourself project and it wasn’t as capable, it was larger, and it cost $5000 more!

      Please, Apple. I beg you. Please don’t blow this. Stiffen your resolve and keep the White men in charge.

      • Charles W.

        What you don’t realize is that the power behind the demands to ‘diversify’ is real, and is backed by major capital. It is the same capitalist/Marxist power that controls the government and media. Apple can’t simply not play ball, or it will eventually find itself the target of government, media and economic attacks.

        The ultimate purpose behind all these “equality” measures is control. God and nature made us unequal, so in order for “equality” to be enforced, there must be enforcers. The more “equality”, the more power in the hands of the ‘equality enforcers’. What you are seeing here is a just the latest tiny battle in the long march toward world government.

      • Jim Barlow

        Unfortunately, even Apple (whose resources shadow those of numerous small nations) will cower in fear and subside to avoid the threats of being ‘prejudiced’ – and in doing so, their products are going to undoubtedly become inferior and unreliable.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Apple should embrace diversity; after all, it was women and blacks who successfully defeated the Confederacy.

  • dd121

    Maybe Jobs was more concerned with hiring smart people rather than hitting “diversity” targets.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Jobs was half Lebanese or something I believe, pow that’s diversity right there!

      • dd121

        Yeah, but he was so smart and so driven I’d be willing to induct him as an honorary white man.

        • So CAL Snowman

          An honorary white man that provided the chinese with jobs instead of White Americans. What a guy, u can have him.

          • dd121

            I wouldn’t hate on him too much for manufacturing in china. Both Democrats and Republicans set in motion the globalization of the economy which sent jobs oversees. The elites hate our prosperity and what they view as American arrogance. This was to be the great leveler. I just wonder where were the unions when all this transpired?

          • Boris McGuffin

            Good grief, Apple has generated massive amounts of American wealth. What is it with you and talking out of your ass.

            The sorts of things that Asian companies can do for the price they do is the fault of American policy, not Steve Jobs. Try to learn something.

        • Truth Teller

          Jobs was a white man. It’s only in this post 9/11 society that Americans would think of him otherwise.

      • Tim_in_Indiana

        The MSM made a big thing of that at the time of Jobs’ death (even though it never came up before that, and even though, as I understand it, Jobs had no contact with his natural father, and even though, in cases of adoption, the adoptive parents are supposed to be treated as the natural parents). The MSM did all this, of course, to try to promote the idea that Jobs was “diverse” and that diversity is a “good thing.”

        As far as I’m concerned, Jobs was 100% white. Don’t fall for the MSM’s ploy.

    • Human-Stupidity.com

      You really don’t get it.

      There are just as many highly motivated, highly intelligent smart Blacks, smart women, as there are smart Whites or men. After all it has been proven that gender and race are purely socially constructed and at birth, all people are equal.

      So it is obvious, and proven, that Steve Jobs discriminated against these people by not hiring from the vast talent pool of Black young women. Instead he hired mediocre white old men, seriously hampering the Apple’s success.

      From the start in the 70’s, Apple, just as Microsoft, started with a few young white boys and prevented the numerous black women programming nerds from founding their own startup.

      Apple should have replaced Steve Jobs with a Black woman, and thus would have been much more successful.

      Lack of diversity really held back Apple’s success.
      /sarcasm

      Anyone knows about Samsung’s diversity goals? They are up and coming …. Certainly, diversity must be the reason for Samsung’s success.

  • bigone4u

    Adding diversity language to Apple’s charter is a symbolic victory for the Cult of Diversity. However, a never ending stream of such victories is necessary to prop up a false god with feet of clay–the god of Egalitarianism. The smug, self-righteous ones promoting diversity would rather see Apple destroyed than be as efficient as it can be. Die-versity is death by a thousand stings of the scorpion.

  • sbuffalonative

    “There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” said Jonas Kron. “It’s all white men.”

    Why is this a problem?

    Did any women help in the creation of Apple? No? So why do they believe they deserve to move to the head of the line? I guess sexism has kept women from IT start-ups.

    • 1stworlder

      Why work 60-80 hour weeks for low/no pay at a start up when you can get an affirmative action token job?

    • LeGrandDerangement

      Jonas sounds fragile.

      • bilderbuster

        What kind of name is Kron?

    • Jim Barlow

      That quote from Jonas Kron is the epitome of racism.

      Isn’t this a free country? Can’t we run our business as we see fit? Hire who we need to hire? Use the resources we choose to build with?

    • Boris McGuffin

      Yeah, I don’t recall any woman ever doing anything great technology-wise, particularly computer-wise.

      But never fear. After they get the number of women they want, they’ll take that as their cue to start hiring “minorities.” They’ll have to go get Julio standing outside The Home Depot to be on the board, and then Jamal with one hand on his junk and the other in pocket full of dime bags to join him.

  • JackKrak

    Funny that the “step to address the criticism and diversify its board” always comes after the Mt. Everest of cash is safeguarded.

    No one ever says “Ok, I think this startup is going places but how are we ever going to hit it really big if we don’t have any left-handed differently-abled animist black lesbian vegans on our board of directors???”

    • 1stworlder

      Well the time to get in to these companies is when they are doing 80 hour weeks for low/no pay as startups.

  • NorthernWind

    Obiously Apple’s “all White men” board isn’t good enough. That’s why Apple is an unsuccessful company! If only they would hire Blacks and women, that would increase their diversity… and as we all *know*, diversity is a great strength.

  • Marc Zuckurburg

    I beg their pardon.

    Facebook has plenty of diversity.

  • Spartacus

    “The world’s most valuable company…It’s all white men.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    Does anyone see the connection here ?

  • ncpride

    “It’s all white men.”

    And here we go again with the relentless attacks on White men. These articles are making me angrier by the minute. Between the Asian claiming they are so much better, the silly White girl picking up strange black men, and then this nonsense practically demanding White guys give up their job to a lesbian or black queer, I’ve had enough for tonight.

    • Triarius

      I come and go quite a bit. We all need breaks from this from time to time. Myself, probably more than others.

  • So CAL Snowman

    You NEVER see female head coaches in the NFL or the NBA or on the sidelines of any men’s college sports. Why is that not a problem? Why aren’t the brothers and sisters marching to change this discriminatory policy against women?

  • Hunter Morrow

    Whites and jews make the money when blacks and hispanics buy dey sail foams, Chinese slave labor makes the trinkets and the Bangladeshis make the nets so the Chinese slaves don’t die when they attempt suicide by hopping out the windows.

    Looks pretty diverse to me.

    • Jim Barlow

      Dey Sail-Foams!

      Blacks also spend all their money on drugs. Seriously. I’ve worked out of a hospital in an ‘under privileged’ area.

      I try to avoid all inclusive statements, but…

      Every single one of them comes in with urine drug screens positive for opiates, benzos and weed, literally everyone of them.

      We then need to put them on prophylactic medications to prevent them from going into withdrawal from said substances. Got to make sure they all be gettin’ that methadone.

  • IstvanIN

    Why don’t they just say something along the lines of “We make the best because we hire and promote the best” and be done with it.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Apple Inc. (AAPL), facing behind-the-scenes pressure from some shareholders

    How many shareholders would really be STUPID enough to worry about “diversity” more than the performance of the company in which they hold shares??? Surely it can’t be more than a trifling few. No, it must be outside agitators raising a big stink.

    As far as the idea that there should be some kind of quota for women in tech firms, go to a computer expo and see how many women are there. Look at a gallery of computer programmers and see how many women are present (this despite the fact that anybody who wants to can pick up a computer and a few books on programming).

    This also despite the fact that there have been some big female names in computing, such as Grace Hopper and Ada Augusta King Lady Lovelace, the very first computer programmer.

    These are the exceptions that prove that women have always been welcomed into the ranks of the computer industry, at least those few who were actually interested.

    • dd121

      I think that bringing up women in the world of computing is just more PC crap designed to invent prestige where it really doesn’t exist. The women you mention did fairly routine computational work. They weren’t the theoreticians or chip designers. That was all done by white men.

  • bilderbuster

    Someone should ask CEO Tim Cook more about this cross burning that left such an impression on him that he witnessed & how he came to witness it. When was this? Who was there ect…
    If it left such a lasting impression on him I’m sure he’d remember all the details about it if it really happened.
    Bill Clinton witnessed a lot of Black churches burning in AK too, although no one else did.

    • ncpride

      He can’t because he is a liar. If he is so concerned about these gays and minorities, he should step down and give his position to a black female lesbian to make himself feel better, but leave the other White men out of it.

      • bilderbuster

        That’s right!
        Mr. Cross Burning Left A Lasting Impression On Me To Fight For Equality should make it his life’s ambition to find that mythical Black lesbian with qualifications as good or better than his & when (which is never) he does he should immediately replace himself to set the example.
        But until he can do that he should tell the critics to go to hell or he himself should shut the hell up, or better, do both.

    • Puggg

      Probably he never saw a cross burning. It’s something he’s making up because he knows what works and what the gullible left will fall sucker for every time. Maybe he thinks that if he peddles this cross burning tall tale enough, and this isn’t the first time he’s done it, maybe the left will quit complaining about Apple not being diverse enough.

  • bubo

    Maybe Apple can hire the black woman from SNL to be on the board.

    • bilderbuster

      At least that would be funny.

  • ncpride

    I don’t believe that nonsense either. This phony threw that little lie in there to justify his discrimination against White men. When he talks about ‘equality’, that in no way, shape or form includes White men……. the very ones who built this company from the ground up. Why on earth do these White guys put up with this BS? SPEAK UP! Defend yourselves, or at the very least, tell them to shove off for once.

  • TheLastAngel

    90% of the women who actuality are “in tech” are in the sales and PR departments. They simply don’t want to bother themselves with the nitty-gritty work which is highly challenging, paved with failure and not immediately applauded.

    I work in a small engineering firm that has no women and I love the collegial, no-nonsense work atmosphere. I certainly don’t miss having to hold criticism back in fear of my colleagues getting teary eyed. There is not much risk of any women showing up soon. The few women who graduate prefer to be institutionalized in the faculty or public service.

  • Boris McGuffin

    When Steve Jobs was alive, people didn’t try to interfere in such decisions. The few times someone did, he’d tell them “Leave us alone,” and then ignore them.

  • Boris McGuffin

    No, that is not quite true. You don’t really know the history, so some reluctance to speak about it on your part would be welcome.

  • Truth Teller

    The high ranking Apple executives are the very same people who since 1980 have ethnically cleansed Apple and Santa Clara county of the White men who created their industry.
    Let them lose their jobs to women and minorities. What goes around comes around.