Urban Outfitters board is lacking in diversity to the point that it is hurting the bottom line, investors argued this week. CtW Investment Group urged investors to vote against the re-election of two long-standing directors, Robert Strouse and Harry Cherken Jr, saying the board's "extreme insularity" has contributed to the company's declining profits over the last three years
The current makeup bears the hallmarks of a highly insular and long-tenured board, one that reflects the committee's failure to maintain a robust and credible recruitment process, CtW's Executive Director Dieter Waizenegger wrote in a letter to investors, as reported by Reuters. "For a company that is so reliant on global sourcing and focused on women, it is surprising that the board consists of largely Caucasian males with law and finance backgrounds," the CtW letter further noted.
The retailer's board consists of two women, one of which is Chief Executive Richard Hayne's wife, Margaret Hayne.
Urban Outfitters has since denied that the composition of its board has negatively affected its stock price, and stated in an email, "Changing the composition of a board is not something that can or should take place overnight.” It continued on to state that its efforts to diversify the board included retaining an independent search firm to assist the nominating committee in identifying candidates with relevant expertise.