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Investor advisory firm calls for Apple to disclose CEO succession plan

Concerns over the health of Apple Chief Executive Steve jobs has prompted Institutional Shareholder Services to support a shareholder proposal to require Apple to disclose a CEO succession plan.

According to Reuters, the influential advisory firm has thrown its weight behind a shareholder-proposed succession plan in the event that Jobs can no longer fulfill his duties as CEO. The proposal was submitted by the Central Laborers' Pension Fund.

The ISS has reportedly argued that shareholders would benefit if Apple put together a report on the company's succession plans. The organization's proposal would have Apple disclose those plans on an annual basis.

"Such a report would enable shareholders to judge the board on its readiness and willingness to meet the demands of succession planning based on the circumstances at the time."

The shareholder proposal was first revealed in January, when Apple declared in its 2011 Proxy Statement that it was opposed to the plan. The company's board of directors already "maintains a comprehensive succession plan" and views the publishing of it as giving Apple's competitors "an unfair advantage."

The company's board also believes that the proposal would "undermine (Apple's) efforts to recruit and retain executives," as rival companies might attempt to hire away executives listed on the list, while executives not listed might choose to leave the company. The proposal was also dismissed as an attempt to "micromanage and constrain" the board.

The proposal will be in the hands of shareholders at Apple's annual meeting on Feb. 23. Apple, in its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has recommended that shareholders vote against it.