Exxon: At least 2 board members lose seats in climate fight

Exxon: At least 2 board members lose seats in climate fight
Exxon Mobil’s shareholders have voted to replace at least two of the company’s 12 board members with directors who are seen as better suited to fight climate change, bolster Exxon’s finances and guide it through a transition to cleaner energy

Exxon Mobil’s shareholders have voted to replace at least two of the company’s 12 board members with directors who are seen as better suited to fight climate change, bolster Exxon’s finances and guide it through a transition to cleaner energy.

The results, which Exxon called preliminary, were announced by the company after its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. The company said that because the complexities of the voting process, inspectors might not be able to certify final voting results for “some period of time.” It was unclear whether one additional board member was also unseated in the shareholder vote.

Regardless of the final tally, the outcome represents a setback for Exxon’s leadership. It coincides with growing pressure on publicly traded companies to more urgently revamp their businesses to address what critics see as a intensifying global crisis.

The dissident slate of directors was proposed by a hedge fund called Engine No. 1, which asserted that Exxon’s current board was ill-equipped to handle the transformations that are reshaping the energy sector.

The alternative directors were also backed by many of the nation’s most powerful institutional investors. The vote reflected a broader push among consumers, investors and government leaders to pivot away from fossil fuels and invest in a future in which energy needs are increasingly met with renewable sources.

The investors who backed the alternative slate of board members had complained that compared with some other oil giants, Exxon has failed to commit itself sufficiently to cleaner energy, from wind, solar or other sources.

Exxon argued that it was committed to addressing the climate crisis, with plans to add new board members, including one with expertise in climate change. It has also highlighted its plan, still in the early stages, to use the Houston Ship Channel to capture and store carbon dioxide offshore.

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