New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that he has filed shareholder proposals at four portfolio companies — Gaming and Leisure Properties, New Residential Investment Corp., Sinclair Broadcast Group and Trip Advisor — seeking increased board diversity, inclusive of sex, race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and sexual orientation. The companies are among hundreds with no women directors that DiNapoli has contacted as trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund in recent months.
“Research has shown that companies with diverse boards perform better,” DiNapoli said. “Lack of diversity puts companies at a competitive disadvantage. And when companies fail to address shareholder concerns over lack of diversity they demonstrate a lack of accountability. We’ve put our portfolio companies on notice that we want them to be responsive and adopt best practices when it comes to the composition of their boards.”
To date the Fund has filed proposals seeking board diversity policies at 33 companies. The Fund has also adopted a proxy voting policy to oppose all incumbent board directors at companies that have no women directors and has voted accordingly at 616 such companies to date. In addition, in cases where companies have just one woman director, the Fund will vote against all incumbent nominating committee members. To date, it has done so at 450 such companies.
In September, DiNapoli wrote to the more than 200 companies in the Russell 3000 Index with no women directors, informing them of the Fund’s recent votes against their directors. The letter called on the companies to explain how they would address investors’ concerns regarding their lack of diversity. Among the companies that have responded to date, 10 reported having added at least one woman to their boards.
An example of the shareholder proposal is available here: https://osc.state.ny.us/sites/default/files/other/documents/pdf/2019-04/trip-advisor-board-diversity.pdf
About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States, with an estimated $207.4 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2018. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.