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Mullen Group Ltd. Retains Controversial Board Member Sonia Tibbatts in Pivotal Move for Corporate Diversity”

In an unanticipated and potentially transformative governance move, the Board of Directors of Mullen Group Ltd., a preeminent player in…


In an unanticipated and potentially transformative governance move, the Board of Directors of Mullen Group Ltd., a preeminent player in Canada’s logistics ecosystem, announced on May 3, 2023, its decision not to accept the resignation of Sonia Tibbatts, a Board Director. This decision unfolrsation about the future of diversity within corporate Canada.

Tibbatts, one of the eight Directors elected at the Corporation’s annual shareholder meeting, found herself in the eye of a corporate maelstrom as she failed to secure the majority of votes required for her reelection. According to the Corporation’s majority voting policy, Tibbatts took the procedural step of tendering her resignation. This tender was subsequently evaluated by the Corporation’s Compensation, Nomination, and Governance Committee (CNG Committee), who advised the Board to retain her.

What could easily have been a cold calculus of corporate governance instead emerged as a high-stakes interpretation of the Corporation’s social objectives. Central to the Board’s rejection of Tibbatts’ resignation was its understanding that the primary reason for the withholding of votes was her role as Chair of the CNG Committee at a time when the Board’s gender diversity was notably lacking. The percentage of women Directors stands at less than the recommended 30% threshold—a focal point that seems to have animated shareholder advisory groups to recommend against her election.

In a turn of ironic consequence, the Board deemed it antithetical to its diversity objectives to release one of its few female Directors. “It would be an injustice to Ms. Tibbatts and counterproductive to the goals of diversity to accept her resignation,” the Board elucidated in its statement. Notably, the statement also pointed out that the Corporation had “never been offside” on its gender diversity initiatives; the low representation of women was a transient effect due to a broader focus on diversity, leading to the addition of Jamil Murji and Benoit Durand to the Board.

Taking a stance that demonstrates an equilibrium between fiduciary duty and social responsibility, the Board reiterates its unwavering commitment to meeting the 30% gender diversity threshold. Plans are in the pipeline to recruit an additional female Director and to implement a comprehensive gender diversity policy—actions slated for completion before the next annual meeting of shareholders.

Mullen Group, a behemoth in the Canadian logistics arena, is not just a corporate entity overseeing less-than-truckload, truckload, and specialized hauling transportation, but a multi-faceted organization involved in energy, mining, forestry, and environmental reclamation. As such, its decisions have ripple effects across industries and perhaps even ideologies. Whether this latest governance action is seen as a harbinger of a more inclusive corporate Canada or as a mere anomaly in the annals of corporate governance is a narrative yet to unfold.

Mullen Group is a publicly traded corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “MTL“.  Additional information is available on our website at www.mullen-group.com or on the Corporation’s issuer profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Mr. Murray K. Mullen  ChairSenior Executive Officer and President
Ms. Joanna K. Scott – Senior Corporate Officer

121A  31 Southridge Drive
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada   T1S 2N3
Telephone:  403-995-5200
Fax:  403-995-5296