An activist investor will soon likely pick up a third seat on the board of Exxon Mobil Corp., giving it an additional edge to press the oil giant to address climate change concerns.
Essentially, giving leverage to make Exxon anti-energy altogether.
Exxon said Wednesday that an updated vote count showed shareholders backed a third nominee of Engine No. 1, an upstart hedge fund that already won two seats at last week’s annual meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal. Though the final vote hasn’t been certified, it is likely to be in the next few days or weeks.
“We look forward to working with all of our directors to build on the progress we’ve made to grow long-term shareholder value and succeed in a lower-carbon future,” Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods said in a statement. “We thank all shareholders for their engagement and participation, and their ongoing support for our company.”
The investment company, which owns a tiny fraction of the energy giant’s stock, wanted four seats on the board and argued that Exxon should commit to carbon neutrality, bringing its emissions to zero by 2050.
If the preliminary vote count holds, it will control a quarter of Exxon’s 12-person board.
Engine No. 1 has called for Exxon to diversify its investments as the world heads in the direction of fewer fossil fuels. The company has also been a longtime critic of Exxon’s unwillingness to reconsider the view that oil and gas demand will remain high for decades to come.