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Apple introduces new regime, hands more control to investors

Greater power to oust directors and influence strategy

Get out the checkbook

Apple has introduced new rules to allow shareholders to nominate new board members, making it the latest company to cede greater control to investors.

The "proxy access" bylaws, revealed in a regulatory filing, mean shareholders have greater power to oust directors and influence strategy.

Under the new regime investors can nominate a board member, as long as they have held at least three per cent of the company’s shares for at least three years. It also means group of up to 20 shareholders can nominate up to 20 per cent of Apple’s board.

A number of large firms have introduced proxy rights recently. Just last week American bank Wells Fargo amended its bylaws to make it easier for shareholders to nominate directors.

Back in August Microsoft announced it was adopting proxy rights. It said in a blog the move would provide "an additional mechanism for Board accountability, without imposing undue burdens or distraction".

As many US IT giants – such as Dell and EMC, and more recently Yahoo! – face increasingly vocal activists shareholders, more may follow suit as a means of placating investors. ®

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