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A shareholder derivative lawsuit has been filed against an industrial and medical conglomerate on the basis it does not have any Black board members.
The lawsuit filed against the Washington-based Danaher Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in City of Pontiac General Employees’ Retirement system v. Thomas P. Joyce Jr. et al. describes the firm as one of the country’s 20 largest companies without a Back director.
The lawsuit, which was first reported in the D&O Diary blog, was filed Tuesday, the same day a similar lawsuit was filed against The Gap Inc. in California.
The complaint states, “For the past several years, defendants have publicly represented Danaher as a company that effectively promotes diversity throughout its ranks. But, in 2020, there are still no African American Directors on Danaher’s board.”
It says, “Instead of actually embracing diversity, Defendants have instead misled Danaher’s shareholders and the public by making false and misleading assertions about the company’s commitment to diversity and have acted inconsistent with their obligation to act in the best interests of Danaher and its shareholders, which research confirms is attained through diverse leadership teams.
“In doing so, defendants have breached the fiduciary duties owed to Danaher and its shareholders.”
The complaint charges breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and violation of securities law.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Danaher, which designs, manufactures and markets professional, medical, industrial and commercial products, has more than 20 operating companies and reported $2.43 billion in 2019 net income.
Directors and officers liability insurance pricing increased 74.4% in the second quarter for Aon PLC clients, which was a slight increase over the percentage reported for the first quarter.