Activist firm Engine No. 1 claims third Exxon board seat

A third Exxon board seat was held by Engine No. 1 claimed, the activist firm targeting the oil giant for its dependence on fossil fuels, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The announcement, which is still based on preliminary results, follows the emerging activist firm winning two board seats at Exxon’s annual shareholder meeting on May 26th. The vote on the third seat at the end of the session was too tight to call for it.

“We look forward to working with all of our directors to build on the advances we have made to increase long-term shareholder value and thrive in a lower carbon future,” said Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of Exxon. in a statement on Wednesday.

Engine No. 1, which owns a 0.02% stake in Exxon, has targeted the company since December, urging it to rethink its role in a carbon-free world.

Last week’s vote followed months of back and forth between Engine No. 1 and Exxon. The activist firm nominated four independent director candidates and won support from major retirement funds including CalPERS, CalSTRS, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

The general meeting lasted several hours and took place in two parts with a break of about an hour, as some votes were still pending.

“We are grateful that shareholders have carefully considered our nominees and we are pleased that these three people will work with the entire board of directors to better position ExxonMobil for the long-term benefit of all shareholders,” said Engine No. 1 in a statement Wednesday.

For its part, Exxon’s management has highlighted the steps it is taking to cement its role in a lower carbon future, including allocating $ 3 billion to research into carbon capture and other emission-reducing technologies.

The defeat of Exxon’s proposed candidates suggests that shareholders are considering the oil giant’s place in a world moving away from fossil fuels. The company’s stock is up nearly 50% for 2021 but is lagging behind the broader market over the long term. Engine # 1 says Exxon’s future financial stability depends on the company diversifying its operations.

Chevron and Shell are two other oil companies that were exposed to climate pressures last week. Chevron shareholders voted against management on a key climate change proposal, while a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to take much more aggressive measures to reduce its carbon footprint.

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