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Climate-change activist hedge fund wins third board seat at Exxon
Oil giant vows to work harder towards a low-carbon future
3 Jun 2021 | The Asset

Engine No. 1, a climate-change activist hedge fund that has been urging ExxonMobil to move its business away from fossil fuels, has claimed a third board seat in the oil and gas giant. It holds a 0.02% stake in the US energy firm.

ExxonMobil says in a statement that based on the preliminary results of the election of directors during its May 26 annual meeting, shareholders have elected three Engine No. 1 nominees, along with nine others nominated by the company, to the 12-member board.

Their election came amid growing pressure from investors who want to reduce the carbon footprint of their portfolios and contribute to efforts in fighting global warming and climate change.

The third Engine No. 1 nominee set to join the board is Alexander Karsner, a senior strategist at X, the innovation lab of Google parent Alphabet Inc. The two others are Gregory Goff, former chief executive officer of Fortune 100 petroleum refineries firm Andeavor, and Kaisa Hietala, former executive vice president of renewable products at oil refining firm Neste.

“We look forward to working with all of our directors to build on the progress we’ve made to grow long-term shareholder value and succeed in a lower-carbon future,” ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer Darren Woods says in a statement. “We thank all shareholders for their engagement and participation, and their ongoing support for our company.”

According to the preliminary results, Woods has been re-elected to the board, together with Michael Angelakis, Susan Avery, Angela Braly, Ursula Burns, Kenneth Frazier, Joseph Hooley, Douglas Oberhelman and Jeffrey Ubben.

For its part, Engine No. 1 says: “We are grateful for shareholders’ careful consideration of our nominees and are excited that these three individuals will be working with the full board to help better position ExxonMobil for the long-term benefit of all shareholders.”

Two other oil giants, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, faced similar pressures from investors last week. During an annual general meeting, the majority of Chevron investors voted in favour of a proposal to reduce the group’s carbon emissions, while a district court judge in The Hague ordered Shell to cut its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. 

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