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Governance

DiNapoli files shareholder proposals at 4 companies with no women on their boards

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has filed shareholder proposals at four portfolio companies seeking increased board diversity, spokesman Matt Sweeney confirmed in an email. The four companies — Gaming and Leisure Properties, New Residential Investment Corp., Sinclair Broadcast Group and Trip Advisor — have no women directors on their boards of directors.

"Research has shown that companies with diverse boards perform better," Mr. DiNapoli said Wednedsay in a news release. "Lack of diversity puts companies at a competitive disadvantage. And when companies fail to address shareholder concerns over lack of diversity they demonstrate a lack of accountability."

Mr. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the $204.4 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, has so far filed proposals seeking board diversity policies at 33 companies on behalf of the fund. The fund has also adopted a proxy voting policy to oppose all incumbent board directors at companies that have no women directors.

"We've put our portfolio companies on notice that we want them to be responsive and adopt best practices when it comes to the composition of their boards," he said.

In addition, in cases in which companies have only one woman on their boards, the fund will vote against all incumbent nominating committee members.

DiNapoli wrote to more than 200 companies in the Russell 3000 Index with no women directors in September, informing them of the fund's recent votes against their directors. The letter also called on the companies to explain to investors how they would address concerns of a lack of diversity.