Investment Group Urges Change for Urban Outfitters’ Board
Urban Outfitters’ shareholders are being urged to vote against the re-election of two long-serving directors by CtW Investment Group. A letter was issued on Monday encouraging Urban investors to vote against Robert Strouse, who has served as a director since 2002, and Harry Cherken Jr., who has been a director since November 1993, saying the board's "extreme insularity" has contributed to the retailer's underwhelming performance. "Improving the diversity of the board is needed to disrupt the echo chamber and redirect the company's strategies to improve Urban's performance,” CtW’s Executive Director Dieter Waizenegger said in a statement.
Total Retail’s Take: Urban Outfitters has a nine-member board made up of seven male directors who have been on it for an average of 19 years. There are also two women on the board, one of which is CEO Richard Hayne’s wife, Margaret Hayne. CtW, a sharholder in Urban Outfitters, wants to see more diversity on the retailer's board, which may help spur some fresh thinking that will help Urban get out of the slump it has been in. Urban responded to CtW’s letter, saying that it has retained an independent search firm to assist the nominating committee in identifying additional board candidates. The Philadelphia-based retailer stated that CtW's assertion that the board composition has caused or contributed to Urban's recent stock price decline is "not supported by facts."