If a new shareholder proposal is brought to a vote and accepted, Apple may be required to increase diversity in its upper ranks. The investor-submitted resolution, which other shareholders may have the opportunity to vote on in 2016, calls for Apple to increase racial diversity among its directors and executives. The proposal was made by investor Antonio Avian Maldonado II after he noticed that Apple's board of directors was a little too monochrome.
The proposal for an "accelerated recruitment policy" was submitted in September by Antonio Avian Maldonado II, who owns 645 Apple shares. He said he was spurred to act after looking at photos of the directors with his teenage son, who asked him why nearly everyone was white. The board is "a little bit too vanilla," said Maldonado, the creative director for Insignia Entertainment, a music company. "I want to nudge them to move a little bit faster."
Apple told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that they shouldn't have to include the proposal in the proxy materials sent to shareholders. The SEC disagreed in a letter sent to the company a couple of weeks ago. While it will be up to Apple to bring the matter for a vote at its 2016 shareholder meeting, they could face an enforcement action from the agency if they choose not to.
Apple initially rejected the proposal, seeing it as an attempt to "micromanage" employee recruitment. The company says that they are actively recruiting minorities, but there are no guarantees that recruits will accept their offers.
Earlier this year, Apple published its diversity report for 2015, which showed a drop in the percentage of black, Hispanic, and Latino employees in leadership roles at the company. Additionally, of the eight members of Apple's board of directors, six of them are white.