Shareholder meetings tend to be either dull or contentious — and occasionally informative. What they aren’t usually is light-heartened.
Apple’s annual meeting Wednesday certainly had its dull moments. It had some contentious ones. And it did offer some a few tidbits for the faithful.
But it also had its moments of levity. During a question-and-answer session following the formal vote taking at the meeting, one shareholder took note that Tuesday was the birthday of Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO who is out on medical leave. After wishing Jobs well, the shareholder got the audience to stand up and join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to the company’s co-founder.
That wasn’t the only light moment.
Activist shareholders proposed that the company adopt a number of what might be called “socially responsible” reforms. To wit: Come out in favor of universal health coverage, make more thorough disclosures of corporate political donations, issue a “sustainability report” focusing particularly on how the company plans to control greenhouse gas emissions, and allow shareholders an advisory vote on executive pay.
In response to the formal presentation of one of the proposals, a particularly cranky investor accused the activists of being “socialists.”
“They want us all to be slaves to the government,” he said.
Following that outburst, several of the investors who spoke assured the crowd that they they definitely weren’t socialists, not in any way shape or form.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, summed up the good feelings by saying “how great its is that we live in a country where everyone can voice an opinion.”