Typically, if given a choice between attending an annual meeting and spending a day observing haircuts, I'd make a beeline for Clipper Joe's. For most companies, the yearly mandated gathering of shareholders -- most of which are heavy on corporate employees and light on interested investors -- constitutes little more than perfunctory sessions whose salient activities are the CEO's wooden rendition of the company's circumstances and a rubber stamping of the slate of directors.
Such was not the case, however, at ExxonMobil's
While none of the proposed measures received a 50% affirmation by shareholders, two items topped 47% of the votes. One would have given holders of 10% of the company's outstanding common stock the right to call a special meeting of stockholders; the other would allow the company to recoup unjustified incentive bonuses. Two others topped 40%: One that would have given shareholders an advisory vote on executive pay and another that would have split the CEO and chairman positions.
But perhaps the most contentious items were a proposal demanding that the company adopt goals for reducing greenhouse gases and a claim that the company is funding "global warming deniers." In the latter area, Exxon reportedly contributes about $2 million a year to groups that question the cause of global warming.
While there were other significant measures proposed at the meeting, I would note that ExxonMobil and its peers, including ConocoPhillips
And, while I'm as environmentally concerned as the next person, I also fear the day when crude oil demand exceeds worldwide production by 5%, or 10%, or 20%. I'd therefore urge Fools to get to know all the companies above, and to bear in mind the progressively slicker tightropes on which they are operating.
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