A photo and short company bio don’t reveal much about a person.
The U.S. Episcopal Church and its pension fund, both based in New York, received an embarrassing reminder of that when they attempted to target Zimmer Holdings with a dose of shareholder activism.
The recent proxy filing by Zimmer, a Warsaw-based orthopedics company, included a shareholder proposal from the church asking the company to take more steps to diversify its board of directors, “all of whom are white males.” The church pointed to the “cozy clubbiness” that too often has characterized U.S. corporate boards.
There was just one problem.
Dr. Augustus White, a member of Zimmer’s board since 2001 and a noted spine surgeon, is black — a fact Zimmer pointed out right below the church’s proposal.
Zimmer’s Web site carries a photo of White and summary of his career, including a professorship at Harvard Medical School and receipt of the Bronze Star for service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Vietnam. Zimmer also said White is recognized for his work in “medical education, diversity and issues of health care disparities.”