Ron O’Hanley, President and CEO of State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), was recently hosted at the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.
According to the Weinberg Center, SSGA is a recognized leader in corporate governance. Ron O’Hanley gave an inspiring talk as part of the Center’s 2017 Corporate Governance Symposium. Mr. O’Hanley discussed SSGA’s focus on effective, independent board leadership and his recent call on boards to consider ESG impacts on long-term value creation.
Ron O’Hanley discussed board diversity and SSGA’s call on companies to increase the number of women on their corporate boards, which was announced earlier in the morning and which was also on the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8). This was for me the highlight of Ron O’Hanley’s talk, especially announcing the one year anniversary of the SHE index and ETF., as well as the announcement of the statue of the girl facing down the Wall Street bull. While he readily admitted it is something of a gimmick, as far as I’m concerned it is a great one.
Mr. O’Hanley also spoke about the historic comprehensive stewardship and governance principles recently issued by the Investor Stewardship Group.
O’Hanley emphasized ESG impact and their long-term relationships with their portfolio companies. Since their indexed funds will be invested in companies as long as they are in the index, they try to discuss issues privately, rather than emphasizing its vote.
I totally agree, SSGA should prefer active dial
ogue but he did say that if such engagements don’t work, they will use their votes to get needed changes. SSGA obviously puts a great deal of thought into corporate governance issues. Ron O’Hanley emphasized the need for leadership. Why shouldn’t leadership include announcing SSGA’s proxy votes in advance of meetings? Wouldn’t it be great to see their votes announced on ProxyDemocracy.org?