Retail chain Urban Outfitters is being called out for not having enough diversity on their executive board. Calvert Investment’s CEO and president, Barbara J. Krumsiek is calling the company “laggard” in comparison to other major U.S. retailers.
Of Urban Outfitters’ five direct competitors, all have at least one woman or minority on their board. A fact that doesn’t bode well for the corporation that owns both Anthropologie and Free People which are marketed predominately toward women.
Disappointed in this, Calvert Investments is proposing a proxy resolution that will force Urban Outfitters to add both women and minority groups to their board. As it stands, URBN’s top seats are occupied by 7 men, one of whom is CEO Glen Senk who’s up for re-election. A shareholder resolution will give those who have a share in the company the chance to insure that diversity is a key part of the URBN mentality.
However, URBN is ready to duke it out with shareholders and are opposing the diversity measure. Why the opposition to diversity is unclear. A look at their corporate website doesn’t show any indication of the company being even remotely interested in diversity. Under career opportunities they cite items about “emotional bonds” with the customer and environments that are “emotionally appealing.” And while they talk about creativity and appreciating both individual and group achievements, there is still no line that states that they are committed to hiring any and everyone, nor do they even call themselves an equal opportunity employer.
On May 17th during Urban Outfitters’ annual meeting, the pro-diversity shareholder resolution will be voted on and a decision will be made. Here’s hoping for a change. The boardroom shouldn’t be for men only.