Earlier in the week reports emerged about Steve Jobs' absence at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting due to take place this week. While the meeting went ahead as planned, it seemed shareholders had little else to talk about other than the CEO’s health.
Despite the fact that there were more company executives in attendance than you’d care to shake a stick at, and that the meeting in general focused on those executives telling shareholders that the company was right on track, the first subject raised once the meeting was thrown open to the floor was whether Apple’s board of directors had hidden Jobs’ health problems from investors. Next up was whether or not the company had a succession plan for the CEO. Board member Arthur Levinson, who is also chairman and CEO of biotech firm Genentech, replied that the board disclaims information that it deems important and proper, and that it talks regularly about a succession plan.
Levinson, shot down the questions, stating the company believed it had met all disclosure obligations and added that the company has regular discussions and succession plans and has ever since he joined the board 10 years ago. The board maintained that Jobs remained deeply involved in decision-making.
Shareholder insecurities about Jobs’ health status aside, the meeting also saw the reelection of all eight board members. Chief Operating Officer and acting CEO Tim Cook said the company's annual revenue has nearly quadrupled over the past four years, jumping from 8 billion to 32 billion. Net income increased to 4.8 billion, 18 times what it was four years ago. Reuters reports that four proposals -- all opposed by the company, including a so-called "say-on-pay" resolution -- failed to garner shareholder approval. Other unpassed proposals were related to a company environmental sustainability report, political contributions and health care.
All in attendence sang Happy Birthday to Steve Jobs who turned 54 this week.