A view of the Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baytown, Texas.
Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters
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Exxon The annual general meeting took place on Wednesday when activist investors urged the company to continue investing in technologies to curb climate change.
Before the meeting on Wednesday, the activist firm Engine No. 1 four independent candidates for directors. The group, which owns a 0.02% stake in Exxon, has been targeting the oil giant since December, urging Exxon to rethink its role in a carbon-free world.
Engine # 1 was supported by major retirement funds including CalPERS, calSTRS, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
On Monday, Exxon announced in a press release that two new directors will be added in the next 12 months, “one with experience in the energy industry and one with experience in climate change.”
But engine # 1 said the changes didn’t go far enough. “What the board needs are directors experienced in successful and profitable energy transformations who can help turn the drive to address the risks of climate change into a long-term business plan without discussing issues,” the company said in one Statement on Monday.
For its part, Exxon’s management has highlighted the steps it is taking towards a low-carbon future, including allocating $ 3 billion to research into carbon capture and other mitigation technologies.
In March, the oil giant added two new directors to its board, including ESG investor Jeff Ubben, founder of Inclusive Capital Partners. Ubben previously ran the activist company ValueAct, which he founded in 2000.
The battle for Exxon’s board of directors comes as the company’s shares recover from their pandemic lows. Shares are up more than 40% through 2021 and are up 26% over the past year on a rebound in oil prices and aggressive cost-cutting strategies by the company. Still, the stock has nearly halved from its all-time high of over $ 100 in January 2014, and last year the company was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average after nearly a century on the index.
Exxon posted a profit in the first quarter of 2021 after four consecutive quarters as the pandemic devastated the oil and gas industry.
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