The Heat Is Online

Rockefellers Aim To Change Exxon Climate Policies

Rockefellers to demand Exxon shake-up

Financial Times, April 29, 2008


The Rockefeller family, the longest continuous shareholder in ExxonMobil, is abandoning its behind-the-scenes role at the company to press for corporate governance reforms including an independent chairman and a stronger board.

Family representatives have called a news conference in New York on Wednesday to rebuke the worlds largest oil company, which began as part of John D. Rockefellers Standard Oil.

A spokesman declined to discuss the specifics of the critique but family members such as Jay Rockefeller, Democratic senator from West Virginia, have questioned Exxons environmental policies in the past.

In a statement, the family said: After years of encourage Exxons management to approach its industry challenges in new ways, members of will publicly explain the concerns held by multiple generations of their family.

The family said a majority of its members is now so concerned about the direction of Exxon...that it is urging a major change in corporate governance in the form of an independent chairman of the board and a bigger leadership role for the...board of directors.

The statement said family members have sponsored four proxy resolutions for Exxons annual meeting on May 28. Although the Rockefellers role in Exxon has diminished  no family member has served on the board since 1911  their views have symbolic importance.

With some competitors considering new business models, Exxon is striking a traditional tone. Last week, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive, told the Financial Times: We firmly believe that technology leadership continues to be the great enabler of our competitive advantage.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008


Rockefellers urge action on climate change

The Times of London, April 29, 2008

One of Americas most powerful families will call tomorrow for a sweeping shake-up at the top of ExxonMobil, the worlds largest company.

A group of descendants of John D. Rockefeller, who founded Exxon's predecessor Standard Oil in 1870, will begin a campaign to split the role of chief executive and chairman of the board at the oil and gas group, a role held by Rex Tillerson.

Last night the family group issued a statement saying that the companys leadership was failing to address the future of energy and related industry hurdles.

It said that representatives would make an announcement in New York to explain that a majority of the family is now so concerned about the direction of ExxonMobil Corporation that it is urging a major change.

Exxon, which earned $40 billion (£20 billion) last year, when Mr Tillerson was paid $21.7 million, was the slowest of the big oil majors to acknowledge climate change. The family is calling for an independent chairman and a bigger leadership role for the directors. The campaign comes as big oil companies face mounting pressure to deal with public concern over global warming.

More than 100 Rockefeller descendants hold a significant stake in Exxon through a variety of trusts, but the exact percentage is unknown.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, an economist and great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, as well as Peter ONeill, head of the Rockefeller family committee dealing with ExxonMobil. He is a great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller.

Exxon produces nearly 4.2 million barrels of oil a day and had revenues of $404.5 billion during the past fiscal year. Its market capitalisation is about $500 billion.

In 2006 Senator Jay Rockefeller wrote to Mr Tillerson urging the company to stop funding groups that denied the existence of climate change.