Apple shuns call for succession plan

by Stephen Foley for The Independent, February 23rd, 2011.

Apple’s board needs to reassure shareholders that it has a plan in place should Steve Jobs not be able to return to his duties as chief executive of the technology giant, dissident investors will argue at the company’s annual meeting today.

The health of Apple’s visionary chief executive – who is on an indefinite medical leave – is sure to be centre stage when shareholders gather in California, where the board is trying to squash a proposal that would force it to publish a formal succession plan. Activists from an Illinois pension fund are demanding new details on how the company has been planning to deal with a leadership change, should one become necessary, and they say they expect wide support.

“The last thing we want is for Steve Jobs to step down. His is the classic American success story, coming from nothing to run the second-largest company in the country. We would like him to be there forever, but that is not realistic,” said Jennifer O’Dell, corporate governance chief for the Central Laborer’s Pension Fund, who will argue for the dissident resolution today.

“We have seen lots of examples of imperial CEOs, and ultimately they have come to harm their companies and their shareholders. We are long-term shareholders, and we want to know that the company is thinking about the future.” (continue reading… )

 

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