Proxy Contest at Exxon

Engine No. 1 has formally nominated the four directors it intends to install to Exxon’s board, launching a campaign the activist says will “ensure a clean break” for the oil major. The move comes less than two months after newly established activist Engine No. 1 wrote a letter to Exxon’s board criticizing the company’s performance.

Engine No. 1 argued Exxon’s underperformance was a result of poor long-term capital allocation strategy, a plan lacking ways to “enhance and protect value,” and a misaligned management compensation framework. At the time it advanced Gregory Goff, Kaisa Hietala, Alexander Karsner, and Anders Runevad as a path to refresh and boost Exxon’s corporate governance but said it would first try to win the company’s backing for its candidates.

Engine No. 1 has now formally nominated the four, saying they are well positioned “to ensure a clean break from a strategy and mindset that have led to years of value destruction and poorly positioned the company for the future.” In a Wednesday reaction, Exxon said it will evaluate Engine No. 1’s slate. The company added that it “remains committed to significantly reducing costs and improving operational performance” as well ensuring “a strong and reliable” dividend. The activist, the holder of a relatively small position worth about $40 million, will be trying to garner the support of larger shareholders such as Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street for its board crusade.

Most-read | Tuesday, February 02, 2021 | Activist Insight

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