State Street says it’s running out of patience with the nearly 1,000 companies around the world that haven’t yet responded to pressure to add at least one woman to their boards of directors.
The Wall Street bank has already voted against more than 500 chairs of nominating committees on boards without women in each of the last two proxy seasons, State Street said in an update Thursday.
Starting in 2020 in the U.S., U.K. and Australia — and 2021 in Japan and Canada — the bank says it will expand the pressure and vote against all members of a company’s nominating committee.
“We want them to know that we’re watching,” Rakhi Kumar, who leads environmental, social and governance investment strategy and asset stewardship at State Street Global Advisors, said in an interview. “We know who you are. You have another year to be quiet, after which there are consequences to not engaging with us.”
The company signaled a shift in its approach to getting companies to increase diversity in 2017 when it unveiled the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street and said it would start voting against directors, not just talking to them. BlackRock Inc. is also stepping up pressure on companies to add women to their boards.