Big doings this morning in Dallas. ExxonMobil holds its annual meeting, highlighted by a long list of shareholder resolutions about corporate governance, climate change, renewable energy, discrimination against gays and lesbians and the company’s sponsorship of the Masters. Why, there’s even a shareholder resolution, submitted by a tiny, politically-conservative mutual fund, to ban all shareholder resolutions!
The annual brouhaha at XOM is the topic of this week’s Sustainability column at fortune.com and cnnmoney.com. Here’s how it begins:
It’s hard to imagine why ExxonMobil shareholders are so unhappy. After all, the world’s largest publicly-owned energy company rode the surge in oil prices to a record $40 billion in earnings last year, making it by far the most profitable Fortune 500 company. Shares are up 10% in the last year, while the S&P500 has fallen by just as much.
But disgruntled shareholders want more – a lot more. They want ExxonMobil (XOM, Fortune 500) to overhaul its management structure, promote renewable energy, help solve the problem of global warming, support its gay and lesbian workers, and to oppose a ban on women members at the Augusta National club, home of the Exxon-sponsored Master’s golf tournament.
The growing discontent should make for a good show at ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday in Dallas, where 19 shareholder resolutions are on the ballot. Granted, shareholder proposals aren’t binding, but this year ExxonMobil’s disenchanted investors have a key ally: Descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, which evolved into ExxonMobil, who are deeply unhappy about the company’s direction.
I must tell you that this column was edited heavily, which doesn’t happen often. One thing that was left out–my belief that the job of chairman and CEO at ExxonMobil or any other company should not be held by the same person. You can read the rest of the column here.