When Apple holds its annual shareholders meeting today, attendees will be voting on a proposal to demand a "detailed" CEO succession plan from Apple, requiring the company to identify potential candidates to replace Steve Jobs and begin "non-emergency" CEO planning three years before the expected transition. Jobs has become a larger-than-life figure credited with Apple's huge run of success, but he's also been plagued by health issues, and is currently on leave for medical reasons. Are shareholders right to demand a Plan B?
It's only fair to them: All companies should have some sort of succession plan in place, says proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, in a report backing the shareholder proposal, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal. Shareholders deserve information that helps them judge the company's "readiness and willingness" to make a plan for the future.
"Proxy firm: Apple should disclose succession plan"
It's unnecessary and risky: Disclosing such information could aid competitors and harm Apple, says the company's board in a statement, as quoted in The Street. The board already has a method for reviewing succession plans, and this proposal is simply trying to "micro-manage and constrain the actions of the board."
"Apple shareholders want succession plan"
They're not asking that much: Apple is misinterpreting the proposal, says Jennifer O'Dell of the Laborers' International Union of North America, which is supporting the proposal, as quoted in PC World. It is simply asking for confirmation that the board is actively reviewing succession plans, not for any leak of confidential information. Besides, other companies, like Hewlett-Packard, have agreed to adopt similar proposals.
"With Jobs on Leave, Apple shareholders seek succession plan"
Update: Apple shareholders voted Wednesday afternoon to reject the proposal requiring the company to institute a formal succession plan.