Apple shareholders will be
getting a "say on pay."
Beginning next year, the company will allow
investors to have an annual advisory vote on its executive pay packages,
Apple said Monday in a statement.
Apple had urged shareholders to vote against
"say on pay" at its annual meeting in February. It argued that Congress is
likely to impose a "say on pay" policy for all public companies and that
Apple should wait to implement those new rules.
But Monday the company promised to allow
investors an advisory vote on executive pay no matter what Congress does.
The decision followed an inquiry by the
Mercury News last week into how Apple counted shareholder votes on the "say
on pay" proposal.
Apple reported at its annual meeting and in
its quarterly report filed last week that shareholders had voted down the
proposal. But vote tallies released by Apple in its quarterly report showed
that 52 percent of shareholders who took a stand on the measure supported
"say on pay." That was a higher portion of the vote than "say on pay" got in
2008, when Apple reported that the measure passed.
The Mercury News reported the discrepancy on
its SiliconBeat.com blog Friday.
In the statement, Apple acknowledged that it
had miscalculated shareholder votes on the "say on pay" and other
investor-backed proposals. Due to "human error," the company said it counted
abstentions as "no" votes, and thus mistakenly reported the measure lost.
"Say on pay'' had gained the support of
investors owning large numbers of shares at each of Apple's last three
annual meetings. But until Monday, the company had generally declined to
comment on the votes.
Giving shareholders a vote on executive
compensation matters has been picking up steam nationwide in response to the
massive growth in executive pay over the past 20 years and a number enormous
pay packages at particular public companies.
At Apple, support for "say on pay'' gained
momentum in the wake of the company's options scandal, in which the company
admitted to backdating thousands of options grants earlier this decade.
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