MAY 16, 2016: Trillium Asset Management is pleased to announce that it has successfully withdrawn its Board Diversity shareholder proposal at Stifel Financial (NYSE: SF) following the company’s agreement to institutionalize a commitment to board diversity inclusive of gender, race and national origin. At the time of our dialogue with management in April, the Board also announced the appointment of its first women directors.
Kathleen Brown and Maura Markus will begin serving on Stifel’s board effective June 15, 2017.
“The infrequency with which companies look to refresh their board is often cited as a reason women have not moved into boardrooms at a faster pace. Stifel’s commitment to an annual review of the skills, backgrounds, the diversity inclusive of gender and race, among other attributes was a critical element of our dialogue”, said Susan Baker of Trillium Asset Management.
“A priority of ours has been to recruit exceptionally talented leaders to Stifel’s board to add to the leadership of our firm. We’ve found two outstanding candidates who possess a deep understanding of our industry and have each earned great success in their personal careers. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them to our board and for their future contribution,” said Ronald J. Kruszewski, Chairman and CEO of Stifel in the April 19th release announcing Ms. Brown and Ms. Markus’s appointment.
The August 2012 Credit-Suisse Research Report Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance links board diversity to better stock market and financial performance (higher return on equity, lower leverage and higher price/book ratios). It suggests several explanations for this better performance including a stronger mix of leadership skills, improved understanding of consumer preferences (women control more than two-thirds of U.S. consumer spending), a larger candidate pool from which to pick top talent, and more attention to risk. In 2014, Credit-Suisse updated its research and observed similar results.
At Trillium, we commend Stifel for its public commitment to diversity and applaud the recent appointment of Ms. Brown and Ms. Markus.
For more information: Susan Baker, Trillium Asset Management, (617) 532-6681, firstname.lastname@example.org
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