Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Apple CEO Steve Jobs - 
Listen To The Story


JEREMY HOBSON: Apple's annual shareholder meeting is today. And the focus is expected to be on who should take over the company if CEO Steve Jobs steps down for good. He's been on medical leave since last month.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: Shareholders are expected to vote today on a proposal that would demand Apple disclose its succession plan. Steve Jobs won't be specific about why he's on leave, but he's had at least one bout with pancreatic cancer and there's a frenzy of speculation about his health.

Hillary Sale: No doubt the tabloid reports and alleged pictures of him leaving a cancer clinic aren't helping.

Hillary Sale teaches corporate governance at Washington University.

Sale: I can't imagine that board has had its head in the sand, and if it did, it should be in trouble for that.

Having a succession plan is one thing. Making it public is another. Carl Howe of the Yankee Group says that could put Apple at a competitive disadvantage.

Carl Howe: Other companies -- if they know the line of succession -- then, for example, they can try to hire away people who might be in that line of succession.

Sale says the vote is non-binding but it could send a message to board -- shareholders want to know where the company is heading.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.