Exxon CEO survives shareholder vote, rails against ‘activist agenda’

By Shelby Webb | 05/30/2024 06:42 AM EDT

The oil major is facing criticism over its legal attacks on investors who have challenged the company’s climate policies.

Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods speaks in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 2023.

Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods speaks last year in San Francisco. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Exxon Mobil shareholders on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to keep CEO Darren Woods and current board leadership, despite concerns over their treatment of climate-minded investors.

Initial vote counts showed that shareholder support for Woods and other members of Exxon’s board ranged between 87 percent and 98 percent. The vote came amid criticism of Exxon’s lawsuit against two shareholders — Arjuna Capital and Follow This — after they proposed a nonbinding measure to urge the company to adopt more aggressive emissions reduction targets.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Woods asserted that some investors were abusing a “legitimate shareholder process to advance an activist agenda not consistent with growing shareholder value.”


“We will continue to be a forceful advocate for safeguarding the process of shareholder democracy,” Woods said before shareholders voted on the latest slate of investor-proposed resolutions. “When we see a process that was designed to give investors access to directors, management and fellow investors to share their views, being abused by a coalition of activists masquerading as shareholders, we’re obliged to speak up and take action.”