Apple has changed a set of company bylaws opening the door for outside shareholders to nominate new board members, The Financial Times reports.
The changes mean that an investor — either on their own or as a group — can now nominate board members if they have held Apple shares for over three years and own over 3% of the company.
Apple is currently valued at $600 billion (£400 billion), meaning that 3% of the company would be equivalent to an $18 billion (£12 billion) stake and above.
The new bylaws, disclosed to the SEC here, mean that a group of 20 shareholders can nominate up to 20% of the board, which has eight directors.
According to The Financial Times, other large corporations, such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Philip Morris International, have introduced similar schemes.
Under the old rules board directors were by other board members, rather than shareholders. But many large stakeholders in companies are annoyed by these insular, cosy rules, according to The Financial Times.
There are currently three outside investors which hold a large enough stake to put forward new board members. They are all large institutional investors:
- The Vanguard Group, with $3 trillion (£2 trillion) in assets that owns 5.9% of Apple;
- State Street Corporation, which owns 3.9% of the company;
- Fidelity Investments, which owns 3%.
Apple’s board of directors currently includes CEO Tim Cook, former vice president Al Gore, CEO of Disney Bob Iger, co-founder and director of BlackRock Susan Wagner, corporate president of Boeing James Bell, former chairman of Northrop Grumman Ronald Sugar, former chairman of Genetech Arthur Levison, and CEO of Grameen America Andrea Jung.