The New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, withdrew a shareholder proposal at The Priceline Group Inc. because the company agreed to include race and gender when it considers nominating board members, New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday in a news release.
Mr. DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the $178.3 billion New York pension fund, which owned 156,501 shares worth about $200 million as of Tuesday, Mark Johnson, a spokesman for Mr. DiNapoli, wrote in an e-mail.
The Priceline board of trustees is scheduled to hold its annual meeting June 2. No vote is necessary because the company’s nominating and corporate governance committee incorporated race and gender into board-member selection criteria, according to a copy of the committee’s charter approved April 15 and provided to Pensions & Investments by Mr. DiNapoli’s office.
Priceline on April 15 sent an e-mail to Gianna McCarthy, director of corporate governance in the New York state comptroller’s office, confirming it had amended the nominating and corporate governance committee charter.
“We encourage our portfolio companies to commit to a diversity of experience and thought on their boards because it is an asset to business,” Mr. DiNapoli said in the release. “Fresh ideas can revive stagnant and homogenized boards, and companies with directors from diverse backgrounds are better positioned to generate long-term company growth. Priceline should be commended for pursuing board diversity.”