U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. is planning to add one or more new board directors and stepping up its sustainability investments, the Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 27, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report said Exxon Mobil is in talks with activist investor group D.E. Shaw about the changes, and could announce them as soon as next week, possibly along with its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 2.
Exxon Mobil declined to comment on the report.
D.E. Shaw was last month reported to have sent Exxon Mobil a letter asking it to cut costs and improve performance, following a similar campaign launched by newly founded fund Engine No. 1 and pension fund California State Teachers Retirement System.
The pressure from investors follows years of decline in the company's stock, which has underperformed its closest U.S. rival, Chevron Corp., by a long margin in the last five years.
Exxon Mobil posted large losses in the first three quarters of 2020 after an ill-timed spending increase that coincided with a downturn in fuel demand and prices.
Engine No. 1 on Jan. 27 formally nominated four directors to Exxon Mobil’s board. Exxon said it has engaged with Engine No. 1 since mid-December and will evaluate the fund’s nominees.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged the state justices to accept Exxon Mobil’s petition in a case with “major implications for the energy industry in Texas.”
Exxon Mobil, the biggest U.S. oil producer, has slashed costs, delayed projects and said it could trim an estimated 14,000 employees globally, or 15%, including contractors.
Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods said he aims to lure the region’s top 50 CO₂ emitters, and is lobbying federal, state and local officials for support to advance a carbon capture and storage project along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.