Apple could be compelled to add more diversity to its executive ranks, if an Apple investor’s resolution is voted through at an upcoming 2016 shareholders meeting.
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.”
For its part, Apple told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it believes it isn’t required to include the proposal in its proxy materials, as it’s an attempt to micromanage recruitment. The company says that while it has tried to attract minorities, “the company has no power to ensure that its recruits will accept offers.”
The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance said in a Dec. 11 letter that it didn’t agree with the company’s position, and while it’s up to Apple to decide whether to bring the matter to a vote at the as yet unscheduled 2016 meeting, if it doesn’t that could bring an enforcement action by the SEC.
Apple has been making an effort to create a more diverse workplace, both by race, and by gender. The company’s diversity report shows a slight increase in the percentage of non-white employees since 2014.