Shareholders of Urban Outfitters Inc. rejected by a wide margin – about three-to-one – a proxy resolution calling for the company to add women and minority groups to its board of directors.
The vote was held at the firm’s annual meeting in Philadelphia Tuesday and the results disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Friday. The firm opposed the proposal.
The measure was proposed by Calvert Investments, Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds and 2020 Women on Boards. Aditi Mohapatra, senior sustainability analyst, governance and diversity, at Calvert Investment Management, said, “It’s crucial that the board understand fashion trends and the way the industry is moving. It’s incredibly surprising that a company so dependent on women for their business is opposing the proposal. You can’t identify any women on the board of directors. They are not willing to talk about it or acknowledge it.”
Competitors such as Limited Brands Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Gap Inc. have at least one woman on their boards.
Urban chairman Dick Hayne said at the annual meeting that the most important job at the company is that of brand president and pointed out that four out of five are women.
“We filed our resolution on diversity in the boardroom,” Mohaparta said. “The proposal asked them to publicly commit to diversifying the board and consider women and minorities for every board member search.”
Hayne also said that 72 percent of the jobs at Urban are held by women and that Urban is the only Fortune 1000 company to have an openly gay chief executive officer, Glen T. Senk. The company’s proxy specifies that Senk’s domestic partner, Keith Johnson, is an employee of the firm.
“We feel we’re truly a company that embraces diversity,” a spokeswoman said.