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Apple shareholders re-elect board of directors


Despite concerns over the way it handle disclosures relating to the health of chief executive Steve Jobs, Apple's current board of directors were re-elected Wednesday by investors at the company's annual shareholders meeting.

8-member board re-elected

The eight board members approved to serve another year's term include Bill Campbell (CEO of software maker Intuit), Millard "Mickey" Drexler (CEO of retailer J. Crew), Al Gore Jr. (chair of Alliance for Climate Protection, Generation Investment Management, and Current TV), Steve Jobs (Apple's CEO), Andrea Jung (CEO of Avon), Arthur Levinson (CEO of Genentech), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), and Jerome York (CEO of Harwinton Capital).

Shareholders also voted down all four proposals drafted by groups of investors who retain enough shares in Apple to suggest changes to the way the Cupertino-based company approves executive compensation, discloses information to its investors, and manages health care.

Proposals voted down

More specifically, the first proposal was advanced by the Teamsters union, which holds 2,569 shares of the company. It asks Apple to report all of the company's direct and indirect political contributions and expenditures, twice annually. Apple's directors say the proposal is "unnecessary and unproductive" and would reveal information on its private negotiations with trade associations to its competitors.

The second shareholder proposal was advanced by the AFL-CIO union, which holds 500 shares of Apple. It asks the board to adopt heath care reform principles outlined by the Institute of Medicine. Apple's directors say the measure will not benefit the company, its employees, or its shareholders, and that health care reform is a matter for the new US President and Congress to address.

A third proposal has been made by individual with less than 100 shares in Apple, but is cosponsored by the New York City Office of the Comptroller (with over two million shares) and Green Century Equity Fund (with another nearly 8,000 shares). It asks the company to deliver a report on sustainability including all corporate strategies related to climate change, the environmental impacts of toxics and recycling programs, and all employee and product safety issues. Apple's directors say the company already reports much of this information on social and environmental issues on its website, and that additional reporting obligations are unnecessary.

The last shareholder proposal is from the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, a public health union which holds over 21,000 shares in Apple. It request the company issue a shareholders' advisory vote on executive compensation. Apple's directors say that setting executive compensation is the job of the board itself, and that limitations imposed by shareholder voting could have an adverse impact on the company's ability to recruit and retain top talent.

More details later

Apple is restricting journalists and investors from reporting live from the meeting and limiting questions to a select few attendees, but AppleInsider will have a more thorough report on the event a bit later this afternoon. Stay tuned.

Update: AppleInsider forum member 'retiarius' just returned from the meeting and posted some comments.

Update 2: Our full report from Cupertino: Apple shareholder meeting dominated by politics