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Apple shareholders ask for more

Apple Inc shareholders rejected demands that the company disclose a succession plan for ailing chief Steve Jobs but approved a proposal giving them a bigger say in appointing directors.

At Apple’s annual meeting on Wednesday, about 74 percent of votes cast favored a proposal by Calpers that unopposed candidates for the company’s board receive a majority of votes to win election, according to the fund.

The vote provided one of the few moments of drama at an event not attended by Jobs, who is out on indefinite medical leave.

Tim Cook, Jobs’ top lieutenant, took the spotlight instead. Clad casually in jeans and a sweater, he appeared very much in command and deftly fielded questions on topics from Apple’s $60 billion cash pile to growing competition from the likes of Google Inc in mobile and revenue-sharing on the iPad.

Cook presented a predictably rosy snapshot of Apple and its fortunes, noting opportunities in smartphone, tablet and PC markets and the untapped potential among business customers.

Apple shares ended 1.2 percent higher at $342.62 on Nasdaq.

Calpers, the largest U.S. pension fund, is calling on 58 companies to adopt majority rather than plurality voting which allows unopposed directors to be elected easily. The $226 billion fund painted Wednesday’s result as a victory for transparency and investor interests.

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