June 16, 2024

The ExxonMobil logo

The ExxonMobil logo
Illustration: Dado Ruvic (Reuters)

ExxonMobil elected all the board of director nominees supported by the company at its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. Some investors upset by the oil giant’s lawsuit against a pair of climate-minded activist investor groups had said they would be voting against some Exxon board nominees.

The company said that the nominees were elected with levels of support ranging from 87% to 98% of shareholder votes. The average level of support was 95%.

“Their vote signals a belief that we are on the right track by overwhelmingly re-electing our directors and soundly defeating all four proposals that would have hampered our ability to create long-term value by providing the world with the energy and products it needs while investing billions to reduce carbon emissions in our own business and others’,” the company said in a statement shared with Quartz.

The company sued two investor groups, Netherlands-based Follow This and U.S.-based Arjuna Capital, after they sought to force a shareholder vote on whether Exxon should adopt stricter carbon emissions reduction targets. Though they dropped the proposal, Exxon is continuing with its suit in order to clarify whether they’ll be able to bring similar proposals in the future.

California’s state pension fund, CalPERS, had said that it would be opposing the entire board of directors slate because of the suit. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Norges Bank Investment Management, said it would be voting against the lead board nominee.

“We expect the activist crowd will try and claim victory on today’s vote, but common sense should tell you otherwise in light of the large margin of the loss,” Exxon said in its statement.

The prediction was correct: In a statement, Jason Opeña Disterhoft, investor engagement manager at the corporate governance-focused non-profit Majority Action, noted that the director slate had less support than last year, when support ranged from 91% to 99 and the average level of support was 96%.

“Investors have shown remarkable leadership in pushing back on Exxon this season for undermining shareholder democracy, including prominent state treasurers and trustees calling on their asset managers to hold Exxon’s board accountable,” he said.

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