Skechers Shareholders Succeed on Enhancing Gender Board Diversity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Stefanie Spear, [email protected], 216-387-1609
Oakland, CA—May 28, 2019—Twenty-six percent of Skechers shareholders voted last Thursday on a first-time resolution from Amalgamated Bank and non-profit shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, requesting the company report on steps to enhance board diversity.
California-based Skechers, moved by shareholder pressure and California state law, announced on May 16, one week prior to its general annual meeting, that it appointed corporate attorney Katherine Blair to its board of directors, becoming the first female board member in the history of the nearly 30-year-old company.
In September 2018, California enacted a law requiring that publicly traded companies have at least one woman on their board of directors by Dec. 31, 2019.
Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, had this to say about Skechers’ announcement and shareholder resolution vote:
“The announcement is the bare minimum that the company could do to comply with state law. If the company really wants to enhance its brand and increase value for all stakeholders it would further increase the diversity of its previously all male board.
“There is abundant data to show that board diversity shifts the corporate culture, opens the company to new ideas, and increases value for employees, customers, communities where they operate, as well as shareholders.”
Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank, said:
“It is widely known that board diversity leads to better long-term results for companies and their shareholders. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing. And in 2019, there is no reason for the board of a company like Skechers to be so lacking when it comes to diversity. We are proud to have led the campaign to push Skechers to begin to address this, and we will continue to be an advocate and leader for greater representation in leadership and boards of women, people of color, and others who bring diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.”
Women and people of color remain significantly underrepresented on U.S. corporate boards. Overall, women and people of color account for only 20 percent and 10.6 percent of S&P 1500 directorships, respectively.
Diverse backgrounds and experiences on corporate boards, including those of directors who represent the broad range of society, strengthen board performance, company culture, and promote the creation of long-term shareholder and stakeholder value.
Prominent institutional investors support diversity on boards as an indicator of good corporate governance. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, published updated proxy voting guidelines in 2018 stating: “we would normally expect to see at least two women directors on every board.” State Street Global Advisors reported in March 2018 that it voted against director nominees of more than 500 companies over the previous year due to inadequate board diversity.
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As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Click here to see As You Sow’s shareholder resolution tracker.
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has served as America’s socially responsible bank, supporting forward-thinking organizations, companies, and individuals across the country. Amalgamated is the country’s largest B Corp® bank and a proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. The bank routinely engages in shareholder activism to encourage companies to improve their corporate governance and operational practices in ways that will contribute to a more just, compassionate, and sustainable society.