Despite a push for gender diversity, the company that owns worldwide chain Burger King will continue to operate with an all-male board of directors. Shareholders have voted down a proposal that would require Restaurant Brands International Inc. to "write a formal diversity policy and inform shareholders how and when it intends to increase the number of women on its board of directors and in senior management positions," reports the Canadian Press.
RBI, which is based out of Oakville, Ontario, also owns popular Canadian doughnut chain Tim Horton's. Before merging with Burger King to form the new company in 2014, Tim Horton's included three women on its board, per HRM Canada. RBI reportedly has two women in senior management positions. The diversity proposal came from Vancouver-based firm OceanRock Investments.
"Given the current investment and corporate governance climate in Canada, we believe RBI's all-male board is a step backwards for diversity at the company," Fred Pinto, chief executive officer of OceanRock, said before the proposal was shot down.
Just 15.9 percent of board positions were held by women in 2013
According to Catalyst, a nonprofit organization "with a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion," the situation at Restaurant Brands isn't at all uncommon. Among companies listed on the Financial Post 500 (the Canadian equivalent of the Fortune 500), just 15.9 percent of board positions were held by women in 2013. An incredible 40 percent of boards included no women at all.
The overall numbers aren't much better in the United States. Catalyst found 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats were held by women in 2013. Although, only 10.2 percent of companies listed failed to include women on their boards.
Bloomberg notes diversity initiatives such as the one voted down at RBI are rarely passed in Canada. Since 2014, the most successful corporate-diversity proposal for a Canadian company reportedly received a paltry 12.6 percent of yea votes from shareholders.
Gender diversity isn't the only area with vast room for improvement in the corporate world. Last month, shareholders accused the board of directors at Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill of being too white and having "all the marks of an insular board."