Comptroller DiNapoli to Use Pension Fund in Corporate Diversity Effort
February 26, 2021
New York State is wielding its $250 billion pension fund in a campaign to widen diversity at public companies, including pushing for disclosure of previously confidential data on workforce race, gender and ethnicity, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Thursday.
DiNapoli outlined a multi-layered strategy that also includes plans to expand the fund’s votes against incumbent board members at companies whose boards are deemed not sufficiently diverse based on age, race, gender, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Alon Y. Kapen, a securities lawyer at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz P.C., said corporate leaders’ private reactions to DiNapoli’s initiative are likely to be far different from their public statements.
“The public reaction will be supportive and, at a minimum, will try very hard not to express opposition,” he said. “The private reaction will be that this is going to be a real challenge for companies.”
Kapen said some companies “will see it as an intrusion on corporate governance” and an effort to redefine the traditional role of corporate directors to enhance shareholder value.
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