Apple has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to allow the company to exclude a shareholder proposal demanding more diversity in the company’s senior leadership from its upcoming shareholder meeting, SiliconBeat reports. The small group of shareholders has issued repeated demands for moves to mandate diversity requirements for Apple’s top positions and now wants to tie mandatory diversity numbers to CEO Tim Cook’s compensation. In a letter to the SEC, the company asked the SEC for permission to exclude the proposal, arguing that since it has been proposed twice in the past five years and received less than 6 percent of the shareholder vote, under SEC rules the motion can be left off the proxy materials for the next meeting.
At Apple’s top executive level, only five of 107 employees are Hispanic or black, while 73 are white men. In his arguments earlier this year, investor Tony Maldonado demanded Apple adopt an “accelerated recruitment policy” that focused on Hispanic, black and Native American hires. In that case Apple argued that it already has “much broader” efforts at achieving diversity improvements in place and that the proposed policy was “not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity.” The SEC is expected to rule on the request before Apple’s shareholder meeting next February.