Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) heeded the call of shareholder activists and named Elizabeth Ann Lambert to its board of directors on December 22. Lambert, principal and manager of Bunkhouse Group, LLC, became the second woman director on Urban’s board, after the appointment of Margaret Hayne, president of Free People, Urban's chief creative officer and wife of CEO Richard Hayne in 2013. Women now hold 25% of Urban Outfitters' board seats. Investors are hailing the news.
At the Urban Outfitters' annual meeting on May 27, Mr. Hayne thumbed his nose at a shareholder resolution that called on the company to add female and minority directors. The proposal was sponsored by Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller for the State of New York on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund and Denise Nappier, CT State Treasurer, on behalf of the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds.
In 2013 Mr. Hayne urged shareholders to reject diversity proposals on the grounds that imposing gender and minority requirements would "undermine the company's holistic evaluation of candidates," reported Gretchen Morgenson in her article "Shareholders Are Speaking Up, But Who's Listening?”
Well, it appears that Mr. Hayne was listening, and we hope that other T and Z companies (those with one or no women) will follow Urban Outfitters lead.