Tim Cook talks succession, dividend distribution, and more at shareholder meeting

Tim Cook spoke at length regarding succession planning, divisent distribution, Apple Pay success, and more at Apple’s annual shareholder’s meeting today.

Cook usually stays relatively mum on the topic of succession, but a question regarding himself and Jony Ive prompted a response. Bloomberg first reported the news out of Apple’s new Steve Job’s Theater.

He said that “passing the baton” is one of the most important roles for him as CEO. He stressed how much of a priority it is for Apple, most likely with hopes to appease investor worry. He confirmed that every Apple board meeting has had succession planning on the agenda, not only for CEO, but all key executive roles.

He also spoke regarding dividends, and the unlikeliness of a “special dividend” as a result of Apple’s repatriation of their significant cash holdings. Though Apple is bringing hundreds of billions in cash back to the US, Cook said he is “not a fan” of issuing special dividends, but is “committed” to increasing them annually.

As they do each year, directors will discuss the issue once more in April.

Cook also fielded questions on mobile payments, and diversity. Noting that mobile payments have been slower than expected, he still expects Apple Pay has an “extraordinary future ahead of it”. Apple also is committed to diversity with 50% of Apple’s hires from last year being female or underrepresented minorities.