Apple shareholders nix CEO succession disclosure

February 23, 2011 1:56:10 PM PST
Perhaps reflecting the universal hope that CEO Steve Jobs will some day return from his medical leave, Apple shareholders today rejected a proposal from a labor group that the company adopt and reveal a plan for grooming and choosing his successor. The exact tally will be released later once ballots cast in person at the meeting are tabulated. The rejection was based on proxy votes cast prior to the meeting.

The Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) advanced the proposal as part of a campaign to get 50 public companies to do the same. Jennifer O'Dell, assistant director of the union's corporate affairs department, said that 30 of the 50 companies have agreed to making their CEO success plans transparent. O'Dell named Intel and HP, both neighbors of Apple in Silicon Valley, as corporations it convinced to adopt such a plan.

Not a single shareholder asked Apple executives running the meeting about Jobs' condition. Two shareholders did express best wishes for his recovery. posted video several days ago showing Jobs unsteady on his feet as he left a building and got into the passenger side of a parked car.

Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook, who has assumed Jobs' duties on an interim basis, fielded questions from shareholders after the 23-minute formal meeting concluded during which the slate of seven directors, including former Vice President Al Gore, was re-elected. Cook was asked about how Apple is meeting growing competition from Google's Android operating system, worker safety at outsourced manufacturing plants in China, and progress on a new data center under construction in North Carolina.

The use of cell phones, computers and video cameras was banned from the shareholder meeting, which is a customary restriction.

Afterwards, we spoke to shareholders who voted on both sides of the succession plan proposal. We also will be interviewing Prof. Ron Gilson, a corporate governance expert on the faculty at the Stanford Law School. We'll have their comments later today online and in a report tonight on ABC7 News at 6.

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