May 28, 2009
Exxon Results
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

 Yesterday, Exxon shareholders voted against all eleven of the shareholders proposals on the company’s proxy statement.  So it appears that the extra effort to reach out to mutual fund shareholders did not have the desired impact on the vote.  In fact, the proposal to split the CEO and chair functions garnered only 29.5% of the vote, a ten percent decrease from last year.  Moreover, despite the extra outreach by shareholders, Exxon’s annual meeting was notable because of the lack of protesters outside of the meeting place.  So perhaps the meeting and its outcome reveal that the financial crisis has had an impact on shareholder activism, making shareholders more hesitant to rock the boat and less willing to support initiatives that may impinge on managers’ discretion or otherwise pressure them to divert resources on green initiatives, despite assertions that such initiatives could improve the financial bottom-line in the long term.

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