Investors back call for Apple succession plan

Apple’s Steve Jobs is widely regarded as key to the company’s resurgence from the doldrums of the computing industry to the upper echelons of consumer electronics and mobile technology, but with Jobs on his second medical leave since 2009, investors are becoming increasingly antsy about the future of Apple’s leadership. One of Apple’s larger investors, the Central Laborer’s Pension Fund, has asked Apple’s board of directors to adopt and disclose a formal succession planning police that, among other things, would require annual reporting on the company’s succession planning. And now, that proposal has gained support from advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which claims disclosure would enable investors to “judge the board on its readiness and willingness to meet the demands of succession planning.”

Apple’s board of directors is against the proposal, claiming in a filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission last month that it has already has a succession plan in place, and arguing that disclosing that information would give competitors an unfair advantage.

The measure will be one of two shareholder policy proposals to be voted on at Apple’s company meeting. The other proposal would change how voting is handled for uncontested positions on Apple’s board of directors. Apple is also against that proposal.

On taking his current leave, Jobs indicated that he would remain involved in strategic decisions for the company, but COO Tim Cook would once again take over managing day-to-day operations for the company.

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