Apple Shareholder Wants to Force Executive Diversity

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Apple shareholder Antonio Avian Maldonado II thinks the company needs more diversity in high-level positions, so he's pushing for a mandated change. Mr. Maldonado wants fellow shareholders to vote on a proposal that would force Apple to increase the number of non-white people in executive and other high-level positions.

Shareholder wants to mandate Apple executive diversityShareholder wants to mandate Apple executive diversity

Mr. Maldonado said Apple's board of directors is "a little too vanilla," and wants to see the company move faster to increase its leadership diversity, according to Bloomberg.

Apple's leadership isn't keen on putting the measure to a vite at its next shareholder meeting saying it would equate to investor micromanagement of the hiring process. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, disagrees and is urging Apple to put the measure to a vote.

Apple's executive team is primarily white males. Of the 18 executives noted on Apple's website, only three are women and Denise Young Smith is the lone black executive.

The company's eight-person board of directors is also primarily white males. Susan Wagner and Andrea Jung—who is Asian American—are the only women on the board, and James Bell is the only black person.

Apple's leadership does skew to white males, which raises two questions: Is there a lack of diversity in Apple's leadership, and is it appropriate for shareholders to mandate diversity in executive hiring?

Apple will argue its objective is to find the right person for each job, and that factors like race and gender don't come into play. The company will also likely claim that forcing diversity could lead to hiring people based on the wrong qualifications.

Shareholders looking to see more diversity in the company, however, will say Apple's leadership is a white boy's club.

Now it's up to Apple to decide if Mr. Maldonado's proposal should go up for a shareholder vote. If not, Apple could face SEC sanctions. If the company does, it could face restrictions on who it hires for key roles. Either way, someone is going to be disappointed.

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This is a tough call. Diversity and fairness in hiring is important. Is it better to trust Apple to hire the right people, or should the company have a shareholder-imposed mandate to force executive-level diversity?

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Fairly ridiculous if you asked me. The right person for the job should always be at the top of the list when hiring someone. Hiring someone based on their gender or skin color are forms of exactly what they’re trying to prevent; sexism and racism.

And of course a majority of these people are going to be white males… it’s the single largest group of Americans in the work place - more white males apply for jobs than anything other affinity, especially in the enterprise.

John C. Welch

it’s not an either/or thing. The problem is the scope of the search. Most companies in the valley, including Apple only really talk to other companies in the valley.

What are most companies in the valley? Honkietown.

This is the problem with how insular the tech industry has become. If you don’t live in the valley/bay area, you don’t exist. Some people have heard of New York, but that’s really only for losers. There are, last I checked, 50 states in the US, not 1.1.

Maybe if Apple et al diversified their sources, they might find a wider range of high-quality candidates.


Both of you make great points.

As long as you are acknowledging the insularity of the Valley, you may as well throw in the fact that you had better be under the age of 30, too. wink

I agree that the person hired should be the best hire, period, regardless of other factors, and that indeed, the ‘talent pool’ is a tiny puddle. Eventually that is going to create stagnation and dysfunction that will not be healthy for the companies involved or innovation at large. I don’t know that mandated diversity is necessarily the best solution, but it is *a* solution, or at least the beginning of one.



I’ve been thinking a lot about the diversity issue, and what I find interesting is that those who once argued for racial and gender equality now seem to be using their previous arguments against themselves when they argue for diversity.

For how many years have feminists told us that there are no inherent differences between men and women? That gender is a “social construct”? For how long have we been told that character has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin?

In the name of diversity that has all gone out the window. Now, we need more “women and persons of color” to make companies more diverse, and are told that this will be good for business. But how? If there is no difference between men and women (as we have been told), and if character has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin (as we have been told), how will adding women and people of color be any different than adding more white males? If all people are the same regardless of gender or race, then it shouldn’t matter if a board is all white males, all Latino females, etc.

Or so we’ve been told. Unless, of course, too many people on boards and positions of power are “vanilla” and hail from “honkie town,” two phrases I find patently offensive (@John C Welsh…would you complain too many in Hollywood power hail from Hymietown?)

The SJWs can’t have it both ways. When convenient, men and women are equal/the same/non-gendered. When convenient, whites and “people of color” are the same. Unless diversity is the issue, then all of the sudden “women and people of color” will bring magical powers to the board room and diversity good, plain vanilla bad.

If all people are equal it, again, shouldn’t matter. You want more women on Apple’s board? More women need to go into STEM, and not waste their time in Women/Gender Studies programs where they learn to do nothing but look for things to complain about like how men sit on subway cars (Google “man spreading” if you don’t believe me. This is what women fight for today: The right to be free from a man sitting with his legs spread apart on a subway seat.)

In the end, Apple should hire the most qualified for the job, period. Mandating gender and racial quotas is not only sexist and racist, it also assumes that there are inherent differences between men and women, and “vanilla” people and people of color (obviously white/vanilla is not a color, though my crayon box begs to differ). Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what we’ve been taught for years in the name of equality?

Equality of opportunity does NOT equal equality of outcome. Period.


You are right of course, I will clarify my comment by saying we already have anti-descrimination laws - mandating quotas as policy is not the way to go and isn’t particularly beneficial to anyone in the long run. The entitlement mentality has become synonymous with equality these days in America, and that is a hot ticket to mediocrity if there ever was one. There should be room for everyone with skill and ability, but one (whoever they may be) has to cultivate that skill and ability, first.




There should be room for everyone with skill and ability, but one (whoever they may be) has to cultivate that skill and ability, first.

Exactly. One need look no further than Tim Cook to see this: He didn’t become CEO of the most successful company in the world because the world needed more openly gay CEOs, and to assume so would be a giant, giant slap in the face to Mr. Cook. He became CEO because he helped engineer Apple’s turnaround with Steve Jobs as a supply-chain genius, he took over for Steve Jobs as CEO—twice—while Steve was on medical leave, and pretty much showed everyone from the board to the world over that no one else was more qualified to lead Apple post-Steve than himself.

His being gay has nothing to do with his qualifications to lead Apple, although—in no small measure—it is great that we now live in a world where he CAN be openly gay and the only reaction is, “Yeah, and where’s the next iPhone-level iGadget?”

I guess that’s my point on the diversity issue. It is awesome that no one (save for the undoubted bigots hiding somewhere on the Internet) gives a rats-ass that he’s gay: It is simply immaterial. He’s NOT a great CEO because he’s gay, he’s a great CEO. Period. Full-stop. Oh, and he’s gay.

If we implement artificial gender/racial quotas for Apple due to a shareholder mandate, how would those hired feel? That they—like Tim Cook—got the gig because they were the best for the gig regardless of their minority status? Or that they got the gig BECAUSE of their minority status?

It does no one favors in 2016 to hire based on any factor other than the ability to get the job done. My God, how many more girl coding camps and programs do we need until we decide that maybe—just maybe—more boys prefer to code than girls, and maybe that’s why tech companies skew male? And their boards do likewise?

On a related gender-skewed note:

God forbid any of you with pets you love go through what me and my cats have gone through, but if you ever need emergency and specialized veterinary care, you’ll find the field dominated by women. Why? I don’t know and don’t care: I just want the best surgeons, oncologists, and internal medicine specialists for my cats when I need them. In my very nail-biting and horrifically expensive experiences, only TWO such veterinary specialists were guys, the rest overwhelmingly women. Why? Simple: Look up who studies veterinary medicine and you’ll find the majority are women. Cause and effect: The more women who study veterinary medicine, the more likely my cats will be treated by women.

Good. Thank God/whomever/whatever. When my cats’ lives are on the line I don’t want the surgeon there because of an arbitrary quota: I want the surgeon there because she’s the most qualified, with the most desire to do what she’s doing. I demand nothing less for my cats, especially when a single emergency trip can cost $5K+ and when every cat is priceless.

Apple should demand nothing less as well, nor should its shareholders or customers.


So right! Mr. Cook seems to be one of our last public examples of all you’ve described, especially in the tech world.

Spot on about the coding camps, too - not everyone needs to be good at the same things, and following natural passions leads to far greater ability which in turn leads to greater prosperity. Eventually with our current mentality all that it engenders no one will be adept at anything, and one would think that would matter to the shareholders and board members for whom bottom lines are of primary concern. It’s short sighted, and it’s nuts.


@mrmwebmax and @jamie:

You both make good points, however your comments risk dismissing the value and power of diversity, and the rationale behind its pursuit. It is important not to conflate an imperfect mechanism such as quotas designed to redress representativeness with the value proposition of diversity itself; because by dismissing the former you risk throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water.

In short, diversity is a universal value, meaning it is literally what drives our universe. The commingling of diverse elements form the basis of galaxies, planets, plants and people. It carries over into our genetics wherein the greater the diversity of our genetic pool, the more robust our stock and the greater our chances of surviving extinction events and avoiding bottlenecks. Diversity is essential to all sustainable life, whereas homogeneity has been shown time and again to exacerbate vulnerability to all of the above and to be a fast track to obliteration.

If you want to be able to adapt and take advantage of changes in the environment, in short, if you want to be fit for natural selection, you want the capacity to diversify. Diversity is your ticket to the future. Diversity is not about aesthetics, it’s about survival of the fittest. This is why any company, crop or copepod wants to enhance its inherent diversity; unless it has a death wish, is gambling on the short game with no ambitions for long term survival, or, as in the case of much of our political discourse, it is out of touch with reality and does not understand what drives survival.

Regarding diversity, few recognised, published authorities any longer propose ‘no difference between men and women’ or correlate ‘character’ and ‘skin colour’. Indeed, are numerous studies and popular works contrasting the styles of communication, social interaction and interests between men and women, not to mention physical differences and how these affect everyday activities such as driving and optimal thermostat settings; nor is there any serious discussion of character, i.e.,  traits or virtues like honesty, trustworthiness, courage, curiosity, wisdom etc, or capacity, specifically intelligence, and skin colour, as no credible research has identified any such correlation. These dated concepts have no place in serious modern research, discourse or policy.

To your point about quotas, i.e. simply filling posts with candidates who meet the standard for diversity yet fail to meet standard for performance, this is not only a strategy foredoomed to fail, as is any policy of uncritical, dogmatic superficiality, it is a favoured straw man for many opposed to, or threatened by, diversity. Ideally, diversification should be an organic process in which the best candidates from a representative pool are selected on merit, which over time, corrects an imbalance. The problem is that people, as studies have shown, don’t operate that way. They have biases, and tend to select candidates that they like, often that are like themselves, and are challenged by candidates that they either do not understand, relate to, or may dislike for reasons unrelated to the selection criteria. Without targets (quotas), not unlike deadlines, it is hard, if not impossible, to stay on track, which is why institutions have adopted them to mark progress and the rate of change. As the background of talent becomes more diversified, artifices such as quota systems should become less relevant. That assumes, of course, that human bias is inversely correlated with greater representativeness in the selection pool, and decreases over time. That will require monitoring.

All of this has a direct bearing on Apple, which beyond being a premier tech company, is a juggernaut of cultural change. The company doesn’t simply make products, but engages with their user base on how to use them, which in turn, affects modern culture and social expectations about the role of tech in our lives and where we’re headed with it.

It is inconceivable that so powerful a cultural change agent as Apple could, with so limited a cultural pool as predominantly middle aged white American males, could maintain so transformative an influence over an ever-increasingly diverse client base, both culturally and geographically, as their business expands worldwide. There can be no greater long term existential threat to Apple’s value and impact than this unsustainable trend of a rapidly diversifying user base and a culturally stagnant talent pool. Undoubtedly, the uber-smart leadership around Apple are aware of it, and hence, the discussion around the best methods of addressing it. If I had to guess, I’d bet that none of those options include ‘Leave it alone. It’ll take care of itself’. Non-deliberate aspiration is not part of Apple’s DNA.

Unless Apple want to become just another tech company, and cede all notions of changing the world to others, they will fix this. Intentionally.


Corporate Diversity = Capitulation to the P.C. idiots of the world that believe that any so-called “minority” group needs to be MORE EQUAL than white men.

I’ve often found this topic comical.

Is it just remotely possible that women as a whole simply don’t want to sit in front of a computer all day compared to men? Is it just remotely possible that [insert whatever race you want] simply don’t want to be hardware/software engineers compared to the number of white males?

Diversity in the workplace is a great thing. But only when it happens organically.

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