Story at a glance

  • The New York Times reports shareholders elected at least two of the fund’s nominated directors to ExxonMobil’s board.
  • The group has pushed the company to invest more heavily in renewables such as wind and solar.
  • Securing seats on the board is an unprecedented achievement by activist shareholders and offers hope the group can use its position to push the company to take on climate change more aggressively.

A group of investors focused on fighting climate change has scored a big win against ExxonMobil after shareholders elected two of the group’s nominated directors to the oil giant’s board, according to multiple reports. 

The New York Times reports preliminary votes showed at least two of Engine No. 1’s four candidates were elected to the company’s board of directors Wednesday. The vote was too close to call for the two remaining seats. 


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The activist hedge fund, which has a minor stake in Exxon at just $50 million, was formed last year with the goal of shifting Exxon’s approach to climate change. 

The group has pushed the company to invest more heavily in renewables such as wind and solar and has vied for shareholder votes by arguing the company has not laid out a viable plan to be profitable if there’s a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. 

The company’s stock has lagged behind its peers over the last several years. 

Exxon has focused on addressing climate change by investing in carbon capture and storage technologies rather than in renewables. 

Securing seats on the board is an unprecedented achievement by activist shareholders and offers hope the group can use its position to push the company to take on climate change more aggressively. 

The directors who won include Gregory Goff, former CEO of refinery company Andeavor, and Kaisa Hietala, a former executive at Neste, a company that produces renewable versions of petroleum products. 


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Published on May 26, 2021