Apple amends corporate bylaws following criticism over lack of female leaders

apple executives

Bloomberg is reporting today that Apple has come under criticism from some of its major shareholders over the absence of women on its board and throughout its executive team. Specifically, Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group have engaged the company on the issue.

The shareholders have met with Apple a number of times over the past few months to address the its lack of diversity in top-level ranks. They intended to bring the issue to a vote at the February shareholder meeting, but Apple agreed to address the issue via new language in its corporate charter…

Bloomberg’s Adam Satariano has the scoop:

“The shareholders met with Apple representatives several times in the past few months and said they would bring the issue to a vote at a Feb. 28 shareholder meeting. They said they backed off after Apple tweaked its corporate charter, in which the company said it promised to consider women and minorities as board candidates, without making any specific commitments.

“There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium, which manages $1.3 billion. “It’s all white men.”

The new language shows how scrutiny of Apple’s diversity practices has now ramped up after other Silicon Valley companies faced questions over their male-dominated leadership ranks. Social-networking companies Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. were criticized leading up to their initial public offerings for not having any female directors.”

There is currently only one woman serving on Apple’s board, former Avon CEO Andrea Jung. There’s also only one female on the company’s executive team, former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who is set to take over the position of Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores this spring.

Apple’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders will take place at the company’s Cupertino headquarters on February 28 this year.