‘True diversity comes from differences in thoughts, ethos and beliefs…’
That’s the argument posited by the Free Enterprise Project, a market-based initiative representing the interests of conservative investors.
The group scored a major victory recently, when its “True Diversity Board Policy” advanced to a voting stage at Apple’s upcoming March 1 annual shareholder meeting.
FEP is urging Apple investors to approve the resolution in light of the extreme bias levied against conservatives in Silicon Valley, and because it makes good financial sense.
“True diversity comes from differences in thoughts, ethos and beliefs. And in the current business climate in which corporate America regularly engages in political issues, it is important for corporate boards to reflect a broad spectrum of ideologies,” said FEP director Justin Danhof, the author of the resolution.
“Without such diversity of opinion, boards risk falling victim to groupthink, a major concern for long-term investors,” said Danhof, who is also the general counsel at the National Center for Public Policy Research.
“Nowhere is this more of an issue than in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley,” he said.
For the resolution to have advanced to Apple’s shareholder meeting is a considerable achievement.
The company, worth over $1 trillion, petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on two separate occasions to remove the resolution from its proxy statement, and to deny the company’s investors from even considering it—let alone adopting it.
Apple’s legal team, with the backing of its progressive management and board of directors, argued that shareholders would find the resolution too confusing. But the SEC rejected that reasoning.
“These actions prove why our policy request is so desperately needed at Apple,” said Danhof.
Activist groups and other industry organizations, like the Institutional Shareholder Services advisory firm, are recommending that Apple investors oppose the resolution.
However, the same group supported a nearly identical board diversity proposal at Amazon last year, that just so happened to petition for liberal diversity.