New York State Common Retirement Fund and Trillium Asset Management withdrew a shareholder proposal at eBay Inc., after the company agreed to revise its governance guidelines to include gender and racial diversity among qualities its seeks in its board directors, Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the Albany-based $181.7 billion pension fund, announced Thursday.
The $108 million United Methodist Church Foundation, Nashville, and Pax World Mutual Funds were among co-filers of the proposal.
After the proposal was filed Nov. 21, eBay’s board appointed Bonnie S. Hammer, chairwoman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, as a director, and after the company reached an agreement March 18 with the investor group to revise the board composition guidelines in exchange for withdrawal of the proposal, eBay’s board appointed Gail J. McGovern, president of American Red Cross, as a director, bringing eBay’s total female directors to three, a statement from Mr. DiNapoli said.
“Different and diverse viewpoints offer fresh perspectives on day-to-day business and can benefit companies’ bottom lines,” Mr. DiNapoli said in the statement.
In a separate matter, New York City Retirement Systems, whose five funds have combined assets totaling $160 billion, filed a proposal at eBay calling for proxy access, enabling shareholders to use corporate proxy materials to nominate directors.
eBay opposes the proposal, calling it a “one-size-fits-all approach” and “not prepared with eBay’s specific attributes in mind,” the proxy statement said. eBay “intends to implement” its own proxy access form, the statement said. eBay didn’t provide a time frame or details.
eBay media representatives couldn’t be reached for comment.
eBay’s annual meeting is May 1.