ExxonMobil vote demonstrates shareholders’ frustration

In May, Mercy Investment Services and Wespath – the pension and benefits ministry of the Methodist Church – filed an exempt solicitation with the SEC to encourage ExxonMobil shareholders to vote against ExxonMobil CEO and Chair Darren Woods and lead independent director and nominating committee chair Joseph Hooley. The “vote no” campaign emerged as a response to Exxon’s lawsuit against Arjuna Capital, a socially responsible investment manager, and Follow This, a Dutch environmental member organization, who filed a climate-related shareholder resolution asking the oil and gas company to set more ambitious medium-term emissions targets. Several large investors and proxy advisory firms supported the vote no campaign.

At Exxon’s annual general meeting on May 29, the directors Woods and Hooley received votes of 91 and 87 percent, respectfully, which is unusually low for a company of Exxon’s size and is a testament to shareholders’ frustration with the company’s actions. Although the court recently dismissed the lawsuit, investors continue to monitor the company’s actions.

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