Top asset manager BlackRock could determine the outcome of a proxy fight between Exxon Mobil and a hedge fund seeking to reshape the oil giant’s board and future direction.
Exxon’s 12 directors are up for election on May 26, in a vote that offers a high profile test of BlackRock’s approach to getting companies to set a course to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Exxon stresses it is on a path to meet the Paris accord with a market-based approach.
Forced board changes or splitting chairman and CEO roles would be a blow to the company’s management. Unlike rivals that predict peak demand within a decade, Exxon’s board has built plans that forecast growing appetite for oil and gas.
BlackRock this year has vowed to hold corporate directors’ feet to the fire on environmental matters and has done so for instance by voting against a director on another high-profile corporate ballot.
[Jennifer Hiller and Ross Kerber]