ExxonMobil today suffered a massive PR hit as shareholders at today's annual meeting elected at least two activist investors to the oil giant’s board following one of the most expensive proxy fights in US corporate history.
Engine No. 1, a San Francisco hedge fund, opened the contest in December, urging Exxon to “implement a strategic plan for sustainable value creation.”
It attributed Exxon’s poor financial performance to its reliance on fossil fuels and a lack of investment in the alternate energy sector.
Gasthalter & Co.’s Jonathan Gasthalter and Amanda Klein represent Engine No. 1.
The Wall Street Journal called the shareholder vote “an enormous blow” to CEO Darren Woods, who held onto his board seat.
Engine No. 1 nominated four candidates for ExxonMobil’s board. Gregory Goff, former CEO of Andeavor petroleum refiner, and Kaisa Hietala, who was executive VP/renewable products at Neste oil & gas exploration company, are the successful candidates.
The Coalition United for a Responsible Exxon, which supported the Engine No. 1 bid, called the vote “a strong signal to Exxon and other oil majors that business as usual is not an option.”
Andrew Behar, a member of CURE, said the new board “should act on this mandate for change and adopt Paris-compliant transition plans immediately and begin the hard but necessary work of creating the roadmap to transform the company’s core business.”
Gagnier Communications’ Dan Gagnier and Jeffrey Mathews handle CURE.