135 investors are teaming up to bring pressure on Exxon for a change
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – More than 135 investors controlling over US $ 2 trillion are forming a coalition to push Exxon Mobil Corp to make sweeping changes including renewing its board and focusing more on energy transfer, say familiar on the matter on Friday.
The group, which includes pension funds, faith-based investors as well as traditional money managers, came together in the two months since two active investors called on Exxon to cut costs, invest in more profitable drilling and clean energy , said the people.
The coalition worries that Exxon may not understand the full extent of shareholder concern and believes the company must take more forceful action now, one source said.
Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This week Engine No. 1, a San Francisco-based investment firm, launched a proxy fight that it announced in early December. He named four directors to Exxon’s board and is pushing the company, worth $ 195 billion, to better spend its cash, keep its dividend, and invest more in clean energy.
Engine No. 1 said Exxon needed independent board members “to achieve a clean cut of strategy and mindset that has led to years of value destruction.” Her campaign is supported by the State of California Teacher Retirement Fund. Exxon has been talking to Engine No.1 since December.
Additional pressure is coming from New York-based hedge fund DE Shaw, which also wants the company to keep its dividend by cutting spending, but has stayed out of the spotlight.
The company has indicated some willingness to make changes and its stock price has climbed 12% this month. It issued an 87 percent dividend this week, keeping the payment unchanged from the fourth quarter.
Exxon will report on earnings this week.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Richard Chang)