Jobs center of Apple shareholders' meeting

February 25, 2009 8:09:24 PM PST
The focus at Apple Wednesday was Jobs ? CEO Steve Jobs. Along with executive pay, the company's annual meeting gave shareholders a chance to address some prickly issues.

The shareholders' meeting was closed to cameras, a long-standing Apple rule.

This was the first time Jobs missed the meeting since rejoining the company 11 years ago.

With Jobs on a health-related leave, his number 2 executive, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, presided. While Cook has appeared at previous shareholder meetings, this was his first time center-stage.

The issue of executive pay was raised by shareholders. A proposal to allow shareholders to cast an advisory vote on pay was turned down.

"I think there is a movement in the country that we want accountability," shareholder Jeanine Loughran said. She and her husband own over 500 shares of Apple. "I definitely think that it should be a peoples' issue, that they should have some input."

Tim Cook's salary is $800,000.

Apple did so well last year that pay may not be the issue it is at other companies.

Last year, sales of Mac computers rose 38 percent. Apple sold 55 million iPods, beat its goal of selling 10 million iPhones by 30 percent and the company has over $28 billion in cash or securities.

Shareholders also asked about Jobs' health.

Board member Art Levinson, CEO of biotech giant Genentech, said, "if there's new information that we deem is important to disclose, then that will happen."

If Apple has a succession plan in place, it is not disclosing it.

"It can create tension internally; if an executive feels he was overlooked, he may not be as committed to the team as he was before," CNET senior writer Tom Krazit said. "This is also Apple, and they don't announce anything until they're ready to announce it. Their culture of secrecy really plays a part in that as well."

Apple appears to have succeeded in getting a message out that it wanted to get out: even in these tough economic times and with the uncertainty of Steve Jobs' health, it is business as usual.


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