NEW YORK: Facing pressure from mainstream investors as well as environmentalists, ExxonMobil on Monday named two new directors including a leading supporter of ESG investing. The oil giant named Jeffrey Ubben, cofounder of Inclusive Capital Partners and a leading proponent of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, and former Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis to its board of directors.
“We welcome these new directors as part of our ongoing board refreshment, which builds on the diverse global business experience of our current members,” said Chief Executive Darren Woods. The two additions “will be valued as ExxonMobil advances plans to increase shareholder value by responsibly providing needed energy while playing a leadership role in the energy transition,” Woods added.
Investment group D.E. Shaw & Co., which has been pushing for changes at ExxonMobil, applauded the announcements.
“We are encouraged by these important steps, and we also believe there will be opportunities to reinvest a portion of these cash flows in emerging and high return carbon abatement technologies and strategies,” said Michael O’Mary, managing director at D.E. Shaw.
The announcement comes on the heels of a terrible 2020, when ExxonMobil suffered a $22.4 billion loss on a steep downturn in oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The oil giant was also bumped from the prestigious Dow index last year and faced criticism from environmentalists who have long slammed it for not doing more to advance renewable energy and address climate change.
In parallel with its February 2 earnings release, ExxonMobil unveiled a new low-carbon business unit and announced the nomination to the board of the former chief executive of Malaysian national oil company Petronas, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.