Illinois Treasurer Urges Exxon Shareholders to Oust CEO and Director

Illinois State Treasurer urges Exxon shareholders to vote against CEO Darren Woods and Lead Independent Director Joseph Hooley. Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis and other officials also recommend voting against them, citing concerns over Exxon's lawsuit against activist investors.

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Nitish Verma
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Illinois Treasurer Urges Exxon Shareholders to Oust CEO and Director

Illinois Treasurer Urges Exxon Shareholders to Oust CEO and Director

The Illinois state treasurer has called on Exxon Mobil shareholders to vote against the re-election of CEO Darren Woods and Lead Independent Director Joseph Hooley at the company's annual meeting on May 29. The move comes as Exxon pursues a lawsuit against two activist investors who submitted a climate proposal.

In a letter dated May 9, the treasurer stated that Exxon's actions "signify poor judgment and oversight by board leadership." The activist investors had dropped their proposal, but Exxon has refused to drop the legal action against them.

Why this matters: This development highlights the growing pressure on corporations to address environmental and social concerns, and the willingness of investors and officials to hold them accountable. The outcome of this vote could set a precedent for how companies respond to activist investors and the importance of environmental considerations in their decision-making processes.

Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis has also recommended voting against Hooley, citing concerns about Exxon's "unusual and aggressive tactics" in pursuing the lawsuit. Glass Lewis expressed that the company's approach could deter investors from submitting and voting on relevant issues.

Exxon Mobil has been facing increasing pressure from activist investors to improve its environmental and social performance. The lawsuit against the two investors is viewed as the company's attempt to push back against these demands.

Other officials have joined the campaign against Woods and Hooley. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and California Treasurer Fiona Ma, who sits on the boards of the state's two large pension funds, have expressed support for voting against the Exxon leaders.

Exxon Mobil did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Illinois treasurer's recommendation and the growing opposition to Woods and Hooley's re-election. The outcome of the shareholder vote at the May 29 annual meeting could have significant implications for the oil giant's future leadership and direction.

Key Takeaways

  • Illinois state treasurer urges Exxon shareholders to vote against CEO Darren Woods and Lead Independent Director Joseph Hooley.
  • Exxon's lawsuit against activist investors sparks backlash from officials and proxy advisory firms.
  • Officials cite poor judgment and oversight by Exxon's board leadership.
  • Outcome of shareholder vote could set precedent for corporate response to activist investors.
  • Other officials, including NY and CA treasurers, join campaign against Woods and Hooley.