SBA Communications Corp. agreed to enhance the diversity of its board, following a push for change by the $8 billion Rhode Island Employees' Retirement System, Providence, and Trillium Asset Management.
Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner joined Trillium as a co-filer on a shareholder proposal asking the SBA board of directors about steps the company is taking to enhance board diversity. Both are members of the 30% Coalition, a national organization working with shareholders and others to promote diversity on corporate boards that reflects the gender, racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. workforce.
Mr. Magaziner, who oversees the pension fund as part of the Rhode Island State Investment Commission, welcomed the good faith effort. "A growing body of research shows that companies with stronger diversity at the senior level tend to outperform those companies that lack diverse leadership teams," Mr. Magaziner said in a statement.
Trillium Asset Management Vice President Susan Baker said in the same statement that the investors "are pleased with the productive and collaborative dialogue we had with senior leadership." She noted that SBA announced in December the board appointment of Fidelma Russo, chief technology officer at Iron Mountain. Ms. Russo is one of two female members on SBA's nine-member board.
As of 2019, every company represented in the S&P 500 has at least one female director, but 20% of companies in the Russell 3000 have all-male boards.
As a matter of policy, Mr. Magaziner's office will vote against non-diverse board nominees if the board will not be at least 30% diverse, inclusive of race and gender, following the election.
SBA, an independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, agreed to expand disclosures about its commitment to diversity and to publish a skills and diversity matrix of the relevant qualifications and attributes used when deciding to nominate candidates for the board of directors.