Glass Lewis consulting firm supports two dissident candidates in the Exxon battle

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Exxon Mobil Corp logo is seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 24, 2018. REUTERS / Sergio Moraes

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(Reuters) – Consulting firm Glass Lewis recommended it on Monday Exxon Mobil (NYSE 🙂 Shareholders choose two of the four board nominees for Hedge Fund Engine No. 1 in a proxy competition at the largest US oil producer.

The small activist fund Engine No. 1 targeted the Exxon board and its future direction in the first major shareholder competition to make climate change a hot topic. The fund has criticized Exxon for poor financial returns and a delayed approach to the transition to low carbon energy.

Glass Lewis recommended that shareholders vote for Gregory Goff, former director of the Andeavor oil refinery, and Alexander Karsner, a former US Deputy Secretary of Energy for Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The report called the election of half of the activist directors “sufficient”.

It is the third proxy advisor to endorse part or all of Engine # 1’s list.

“Choosing part of Engine 1’s list would send a clear message of shareholder dissatisfaction with Exxon’s recent direction and strategy,” said Glass Lewis in his report. Exxon has also underperformed and its energy transition plan is “generally inadequate and inadequate in key areas”.

Exxon and Engine # 1 could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

The Proxy Advisor Institutional Shareholder Services supported three of the four dissident directors, while Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) supported all four candidates for Engine No. 1 has supported.

The recommendations are influential to institutional investors and often determine how they vote at corporate meetings. Exxon shareholders will vote on May 26th.

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