Activist investors fret over Exxon Mobil's lawsuit bypassing US regulator

(29 Jan 2024) Investors that use shareholder resolutions to pressure companies on environmental and social issues said they are worried that an Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), opens new tab lawsuit bypassing the U.S. securities regulator could undermine their influence.

Under appointees of U.S. President Joe Biden, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made it more difficult for companies to prevent these resolutions from moving to a shareholder vote by appealing to the regulator.

Exxon sidestepped the SEC and filed a lawsuit earlier this month against two shareholders that had put forward a resolution calling on the oil major to set new targets for reducing some of its greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon accused the investors in its lawsuit of abusing the process by putting forward resolutions to advance their agenda of diminishing its fossil fuels business, rather than grow shareholder value. It said that 90% of its shareholders voted down a similar proposal last year. The top U.S. oil producer is seeking a ruling by March 19, and on Thursday asked the judge to fast-track the case. Its proxy statement needs to be filed by April 11, in time for its annual shareholder meeting in May.

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, 29 Jan 2024: Activist investors fret over Exxon Mobil's lawsuit bypassing US regulator