Shareholder Meeting Reveals Little Insight
Apple today held its annual shareholder meeting on its Cupertino campus. The meeting which I gave some detail on at World of Apple yesterday went as expected with no announcements of particular importance. Most notable from the meeting was a continued insistence from CEO Tim Cook that the company was in discussions about its massive cash pile, which is approaching $100bn, but had nothing to announce at today’s meeting.
Despite Apple advising against proposal 7 the procedure to elect board members with a majority vote has been adopted. It sees board members agree that they must voluntarily resign if they do not receive a majority vote. At today’s meeting all the directors were elected with more than 80% of the vote.
Ernst and Young were also approved as Apple’s auditor for the financial year.
Proposals on directors declaring conflicts of interest, shareholders having a say on directors pay, and disclosure of political contributions were all not approved.
Following the formal procedures Tim Cook took the stage, noting on Steve Jobs’ passing Cook said that “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him.” Cook also thanked shareholders for their condolences and says that his sadness has turned to determination.
Recounting figures that we’ve heard before Cook said that last quarter Apple had more than 360 retail stores with 110 million people visiting during the quarter.
Phillip Schiller and Peter Oppenheimer also joined Tim Cook on stage to answer questions with one shareholder coming out against a regular stock dividend, instead suggesting that Apple uses the cash to acquire video content. Cook replied by saying:
“On cash, we’ve been thinking about cash very deeply, the board has been looking into what is in shareholders’ best interest … We’ve spent billions on the supply chain, retail, etc… My message there is that the board and the management team are thinking about this very deeply… And we will do what we think is in the best interest of shareholders.”
“We haven’t had to own a music label to accomplish what we did in music.”
On questions about Apple’s future TV plans Cook refused to comment.
When asked whether Facebook was a friend or foe Cook responded by saying that he “always thought that the two companies could do more together.”
Another shareholder suggested that Apple invest in scholarships for science and engineering education. Cook responded by saying that “We strongly believe education is the great equaliser.” In relation to Apple’s policy of matching donations it was noted that Apple employees have been raising money for educational establishments and Apple was matching these.
Finally on a stock split Cook said, “We talk about everything we think is in the shareholders’ best interest. A stock split isn’t so clear.”
The meeting concluded after a little under 70 minutes.