(Reuters) - A group of British public sector pension funds has asked its members to oppose the appointment of Tony Hayward as chairman of Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.L) in protest at the company's failure to set targets for female representation on its board.
The mining and commodities trading group confirmed Hayward's permanent appointment on Thursday, having installed him as interim chairman last May when his predecessor Sir John Bond was ousted by shareholders.
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), an association of 60 UK-based public sector pension funds with combined assets of about 120 billion pounds ($203 billion), said that Glencore is the only company on London's blue-chip FTSE-100 index with an all-male board. The association says its members have widespread holdings in the mining giant.
"It is four years on from the Davies Review, yet Glencore Xstrata, with its global presence, still seems unable to find a woman anywhere in the world of sufficient capability to join the board," the association said in a statement.
The British government's 2011 Davies Review, led by former trade minister Lord Mervyn Davies, said all FTSE 100 companies should have a quarter of their board positions held by women by 2015, though it stopped short of advocating enforced quotas.
The LAPFF said that Glencore chairman Hayward must bear "some responsibility" for the company's lack of progress in setting targets for female representation on the board.
Glencore defended its position and said that it is searching for suitable female board members.
"Glencore values and promotes diversity across its business. The appointment of a female board member is a significant consideration and our nominations committee is working to identify appropriate female candidates," a Glencore spokesperson said in a statement. ($1 = 0.5899 British Pounds)
Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore and Silvia Antonioli in London; Editing by David Goodman