In response to Apple’s diversity report last August, which was anything but diverse, CEO Tim Cook noted “there is a lot more work to be done” and pledged a commitment to making this change.
Sadly, it appears those words were hot air, as in lieu of the annual shareholder meeting in February, Apple’s board of directors is recommending that investors vote against a proposal to increase the diversity of its senior management.
In 2015, Apple reported that 54% of its US employees, including its retail staff, were white, but that number increases to 63% when zooming in on its execs.
The proposal by investor Antonio Avian Maldonado II criticizes Apple for being “painstaking slow” to increase representation of minorities in its leadership and board. It’s not uncommon for investors to push for increased diversity with such board proposals, Eileen Carey, CEO of Glassbreakers, which makes software to help companies improve employee diversity, tells Quartz. According to the Thirty Percent Coalition, which aims for women to hold 30% of board seats in public companies, there were about 25 board diversity resolutions filed in the first half of 2015. Studies have found that companies with diverse boards typically see higher financial returns.
“The board is honestly one of the most important parts of the organization that needs diversity,” says Carey. “It’s important to represent at the very top of the organization all the people a company serves.”