ISS backs call for Apple CEO succession plan

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 3, 2011 3:26pm EST

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is seen after the Apple's music-themed September media event in San Francisco, California September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is seen after the Apple's music-themed September media event in San Francisco, California September 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Influential investor advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services has thrown its weight behind a shareholder proposal to require Apple Inc to disclose a succession plan for Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

The proposal backed by ISS, a proxy voting service, was submitted by the Central Laborers' Pension Fund.

Last month, Apple CEO Jobs stepped away from the company on medical leave for an undisclosed condition. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook is now overseeing day-to-day operations.

"ISS believes that shareholders would benefit by having a report on the company's succession plans disclosed annually," ISS said, according to a release from the Laborers' International Union of North America.

"Such a report would enable shareholders to judge the board on its readiness and willingness to meet the demands of succession planning based on the circumstances at that time."

An Apple spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Apple is recommending its shareholders vote against the proposal at the company's annual meeting on February 23.

In a regulatory filing last month, Apple said it has a "comprehensive succession plan" but divulging such a plan would give its rivals an unfair advantage, undermine its efforts to recruit and retain executives, and constrain its board.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Gary Hill)

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