Right now, there’s an Exxon Mobil (XOM) shareholder meeting going on in Texas. If you have proxy votes to cast due to XOM stock, you should be doing so today. And there are some serious fights going on right now.
Right now, there’s an Exxon Mobil (XOM) shareholder meeting going on in Texas. If you have proxy votes to cast due to XOM stock, you should be doing so today. There are currently some serious fights going on.
Among the 19 proposals, the most contentious have to do with XOM’s green and alternative energy policies, and a proposal to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive. The roles have traditionally been combined and held by Rex Tillerson. Indeed, the Rockefeller family believes that it is Tillerson that is affecting other issues (especially energy-related) in XOM policies — and taking the company in the wrong direction. CNN Money reports on what some members of the Rockefeller family are saying:
We believe our company is now lagging in creating solutions for the looming climate and energy crisis," wrote Neva Rockefeller-Goodwin in support of a proposal to ExxonMobil’s board.
Rockefeller-Goodwin, who is a professor of economics and co-director of Global Development and Environmental Institute at Tufts University, urges the company to do more to develop alternative sources of energy.
If the company continues to rely on the sale of ‘hydrocarbon energy’ it faces a ‘painful paradox in the future,’ she wrote. ‘Part of John D. Rockefeller’s genius was in recognizing early on the need and opportunity of a transition to a better and cheaper fuel.’
And there is a point here: Oil prices are rising, and the interest in alternative energy investment is growing. What happens to world’s largest oil company if it falls behind the times? Management at XOM insists that its policies are fundamentally sound for the future, pointing out that it is trying to become more efficient, rather than investing in alternative energy that might not pan out.
But if oil prices keep rising, and if the American public rouses itself enough to get something done at a higher level, Exxon could find itself in a precarious position. Even as XOM stock falls today, Chevron (CVX) stock is rising (and it is worth $10 more than XOM per share). Chevron is committing more of its resources to solar energy and this diversification may help the company in the future.
And that is what proxy voting is all about. You can cast your vote to let companies know how you feel about certain things and hold them accountable for the decisions they make. Exxon shareholders are about to decide if they agree with the path Tillerson has set them on.
Disclosure: I do not own Big Oil stock