Apple Shareholder Wants to Force Executive Diversity

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.