This excerpt taken from the AAPL DEF 14A filed Jan 12, 2010.
Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation
As previously announced, the Company is providing its shareholders with the opportunity to cast an advisory vote on executive compensation as described below. The Company believes that it is appropriate to seek the views of shareholders on the design and effectiveness of the Companys executive compensation program.
The Companys goal for its executive compensation program is to attract and retain a talented, entrepreneurial and creative team of executives who will provide leadership for the Companys success in dynamic, competitive markets. The Company seeks to accomplish this goal in a way that is aligned with the long-term interests of the Companys shareholders. The Company believes that its executive compensation program, which emphasizes long-term equity awards, satisfies this goal and is strongly aligned with the long-term interests of its shareholders. The Companys total shareholder return over the prior 1-, 3- and 5-year periods was 63%, 141% and 857%, respectively.
The Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 19 of this Proxy Statement, describes the Companys executive compensation program and the decisions made by the Compensation Committee in 2009 in more detail. Highlights of the program include the following:
The Company believes the compensation program for the named executive officers was instrumental in helping the Company achieve strong financial performance in the challenging macroeconomic environment. In addition to the 1-, 3- and 5-year performance of the Companys stock noted above, in 2009 the Companys revenue grew to $36.5 billion, representing an increase of $4.1 billion or 12% over the prior year. Net income also increased to $5.7 billion in 2009, an increase of $870 million or 18% over the prior year, and the Companys gross margin in 2009 was 36.0%, up from 34.3% in the prior year. The Companys strong earnings and operational excellence helped drive a cash balance at the end of 2009 of $34 billion, an increase of $9.5 billion over the prior year.
The Company requests shareholder approval of the compensation of the Companys named executive officers as disclosed pursuant to the SECs compensation disclosure rules (which disclosure includes the Compensation Committee Report, the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, and the compensation tables).
As an advisory vote, this proposal is not binding upon the Company. However, the Compensation Committee, which is responsible for designing and administering the Companys executive compensation program, values the opinions expressed by shareholders in their vote on this proposal, and will consider the outcome of the vote when making future compensation decisions for named executive officers.
Approval of Proposal No. 4 requires the affirmative vote of (i) a majority of the shares present or represented by proxy and voting at the Annual Meeting and (ii) a majority of the shares required to constitute the quorum.
Recommendation of the Board