Apple shareholders reject succession proposal

February 23, 2011, 6:33 PM UTC

Steve Jobs skipped the meeting. COO Tim Cook — his heir apparent — presided.

Apple headquarters

Apple’s (AAPL) shareholder meeting got off to a slow start as latecomers filled the company’s Town Hall auditorium nearly to capacity.

CNBC‘s Jon Fortt reported shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST that COO Tim Cook, not Steve Jobs, had taken the stage and was introducing the board of directors.

The most controversial shareholder proposal — that Apple adopt a detailed succession plan — came up about 20 minutes later. According to the representative of the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund who introduced it, Proposal No. 5 did not require the company to name names, she said, so management’s fears about the proposal were unfounded.

But a preliminary proxy count suggested that the proposal had been defeated, as expected and as Apple had recommended.

All seven board members — including Jobs — were reelected.

A shareholder who wished Jobs the best and looked forward to seeing him next year drew a big applause.

Another shareholder questioned the 30/70 split that is part of Apple’s new subscription plan, suggesting that by reducing its cut the company could play a part in keeping newspapers alive.

Asked about the charges raised in “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” Mike Daisey’s monologue critical of working conditions in Apple’s Asian supply chain, Cook replied, according to
‘s Adam Lashinsky: “If it’s not on ESPN or CNBC, I don’t see it.”

The North Carolina data center, which was supposed to come on line before the end of 2010, will be ready “this spring,” according to Fortt’s meeting notes.

By 2:15, the BBC’s Maggie Shiels reported, the meeting was “all done and dusted.”

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]