Exxon shareholders reject resolutions on climate and separating CEO-chairman

By Jennifer Hiller DALLAS (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp shareholders on Wednesday rejected a proposal to split the chief executive officer and board chairman roles that some had promoted to protest a decision to strike an unrelated climate change resolution from the ballot. Two institutional shareholders had urged a vote in favour of the role split after Exxon got the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to strike a climate change measure from its ballot

Reuters May 30, 2019 04:08:19 IST
Exxon shareholders reject resolutions on climate and separating CEO-chairman

Exxon shareholders reject resolutions on climate and separating CEOchairman

By Jennifer Hiller

DALLAS (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp shareholders on Wednesday rejected a proposal to split the chief executive officer and board chairman roles that some had promoted to protest a decision to strike an unrelated climate change resolution from the ballot.

Two institutional shareholders had urged a vote in favour of the role split after Exxon got the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to strike a climate change measure from its ballot.

The protest fizzled, with about 41% of the votes supporting the separation at the company's annual meeting, little more than the more than the 38% approval votes that similar resolutions garnered in recent years.

Shareholders also defeated measures calling for a special board committee on climate change and for a report on the risks of climate change to Exxon's U.S. Gulf Coast chemical plants.

At Chevron Corp's annual meeting on Wednesday, a proposal to create an independent chairman received just 26% of votes, and only 8% of votes favoured a board committee on climate change.

In contrast, 99% of shareholders at BP Plc last week favoured a resolution calling for the British oil company to meet a climate accord seeking to curb a rise in global temperatures. Royal Dutch Shell last year agreed to set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and link them to executive pay.

New York state's pension fund and the Church Commissioners for England, the endowment fund of the Church of England, had backed the independent chairman's proposal at Exxon after their resolution seeking emissions goals was struck from the ballot.

The 41% approval for the independent board chair proposal was the largest in the last seven times such a proposal has been considered. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement that "Exxon would ignore this level of support for an independent board chair at its own risk.”

Exxon has been in "open conflict about climate strategy and disclosure" with its investors, said Edward Mason, who represented the Church of England and presented two climate resolutions that failed to gain majority support.

Shareholders in recent years have pressed Exxon to define a path toward meeting the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit global warming, but the company has not committed to any targets.

"Engagement on climate is important, but working on solutions through fundamental research and development for new technologies is also important," Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods said at the meeting.

Exxon has multi-billion-dollar expansion programs to find and produce new reserves of oil and natural gas, as well as to expand its refining and chemical footprint. It has projected shale production of 1 million barrels per day in the Permian Basin, the top U.S. shale field, as early as 2024.

Woods said the company would continue to engage with shareholders as part of a "a years-long process."

More than 50 people organised by environmental group 350 Dallas held signs and chanted outside the hotel entrance to protest Exxon's climate policies.

"The climate crisis is real and they have contributed to it," said Olinka Green, 50, of Dallas, who held a sign saying, "There is no Planet B."

Shares of Exxon were down 0.62% at $72.16 on Wednesday.

Exxon is pushing ahead in China despite the trade war between the two countries, and Woods said its plans have not been interrupted.

Last year it was approved for an about $9 billion liquefied natural gas terminal and a massive chemicals project in China, the second foreign firm after Germany’s BASF to gain approval to operate such a plant without a local sponsor.

"That is a lifelong investment, a 50- to 100-year timeline investment," Woods said. "While we're sensitive to what we're seeing in the current environment and the implications, and we're making sure that we understand how issues can play themselves out, we're also trying to put that in the context of this long-term time horizon we're trying to manage."

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller; editing by David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.