With crude oil prices at record levels, dividends up, profits
unprecedented and Exxon's stock hitting a record high in the
first half of 2008, investors should be unequivocal in their
support of Rex Tillerson, the CEO and Chairman of Exxon. But a
significant block of Exxon's investors are interested in more
than just near-term profits. They are also concerned about the
future, and they believe Exxon is not prepared for what many expect
to be a turbulent time in the energy markets.
Unlike many other oil companies, Exxon has refused to invest in
renewable energy and carbon capture technologies. Several
institutional investors have joined the shareholders in their low
carbon-related resolutions — none of which were supported
by Exxon or its board of directors.
These resolutions included a proposal to split up the chairman
and CEO positions, so that an independent chairman could spend time
reviewing big-picture future energy issues, such as renewables,
while Rex Tillerson, as CEO, could focus on running the company.
Since 2003, this resolution has been gathering momentum, but
appears to have reached a plateau in 2008. In 2003, a resolution to
split the chairman and chief executive's roles received 22 per
cent of the vote, and last year it received 40 per cent. At the May
2008 meeting, it received slightly less than in 2007, with 39.5 per
cent of the vote.
The low carbon-related resolutions also included a proposal to
require Exxon to set specific goals limiting greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions and to engage in renewable energy research. These
proposals were supported by 31 per cent and 27 per cent of the
These low carbon resolutions were spearheaded by the descendants
of J.D. Rockefeller and supported by several institutional
investors, including F&C Asset Management, Co-operative
Insurance Society, Morley Fund Management and West Midlands Pension
Fund. London-based proxy advisory firm PIRC Ltd. had recommended
that its clients support the low carbon-related proposals, which
were already backed by RiskMetrics Group, Glass Lewis and Proxy
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On March 11, 2009, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions of Canada (OSFI) released a revised version of Guideline B-10, Outsourcing of Business Activities, Functions and Processes.
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