by David Milstead
Originally published: June 8, 2016
This is part of a series examining corporate governance issues at Canadian companies.
Tim Hortons Inc. had a 12-member board with three women before Burger King acquired the company in late 2014. When the new company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., rolled out its leadership, its 10-member board was all-male.
This year, the company had an opportunity to name at least one female director – and did not, choosing to add another man instead. Restaurant Brands is one of just two companies in the S&P/TSX 60 with no women on the board.
Enough is enough, says shareholder OceanRock Investments Inc., which has placed a resolution on the Restaurant Brands proxy statement calling for a written board diversity policy, which the company also lacks. Shareholders will vote on the measure at the company’s annual meeting Thursday. The company has declined to oppose the measure, and proxy advisory services, including Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research & Education, are recommending shareholders vote in favour. This will make the vote an interesting test of shareholders’ appetite for pushing companies to diversify their boards.