Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ExxonMobile Shareholder Activism

So I've been tracking the theme of responsible corporate governance for a minute or two. Starting with the hopeless, let's boycott ExxonMobile hoax, on to the Rockefeller family shareholder resolutions, and then the likely real threat to reptilian supremacy in the executive suite, bounty-hunting trial lawyers.

Wednesday is showtime, when the potentially rancorous shareholder meeting will take place in Dallas. Comes now to the fray a new entrant, this one on the side of the dragons vs the would be dragon-slayers;
It could be the nuclear option to silence rebellious investors. A libertarian activist has hit back at ExxonMobil's environmental critics by tabling a resolution that would outlaw shareholder social activism.

The Free Enterprise Action Fund, which controls $11m (£5.5m) of assets, has proposed amending Exxon's articles of association to prevent the oil company's shareholders from putting forward advisory resolutions at annual meetings.

The fund's managing partner, Steven Milloy, opposes a coalition led by the Rockefeller family that is calling on Exxon to pay more attention to global warming. "They're not bona fide shareholders," Milloy says. "They're not shareholders who are invested in Exxon because they think it's a good investment - they're shareholders who want to use Exxon to advance their social and political agenda."
Libertarian? Not so much. Looks for all the world to me like a corporate political action committee - which instead of working the public polity, is focused on political action within the ranks of voting shareholders. Interestingly, the Fraternal Order of Police has also sided with the reptilians, as well;
The National Fraternal Order of Police, which represents public safety officers who have pensions invested in Exxon Mobil, has publicly opposed the shareholder effort to change company policy.

"By splitting the jobs of chairman and chief executive officer, by imposing rigid, ideologically based conditions on the company's future operations," the organization wrote in a letter to Tillerson, the reform effort "would hamstring Exxon Mobil's profitability and growth."
Law and order every time....,