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Investor coalition pushes Exxon to do more after board refresh

BOSTON (Reuters) – A coalition of investors that oversees $2.5 trillion in assets urged ExxonMobil on Wednesday to take bolder action to slash greenhouse gas emissions and make key governance changes.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/File Photo

The Coalition for a Responsible Exxon (CURE), which has 145 members, said the energy giant Exxon had taken steps in the “right direction” amid pressure from activist investors to cut costs, refresh its board and focus more on clean energy.

But the group said in a statement more work still lay ahead for one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.

It said it wanted Exxon to commit to a deeper, long-term shift in capital allocation strategies to make its operations consistent with the Paris accord on tackling climate change.

The company should make additional changes to its board to “address fiduciary and climate concerns”, as well as split the chairman and chief executive posts, the group said.

Exxon, one of America’s most well-known brands, named three new directors in the last five weeks, steps the coalition said showed “that the company may intend to change”.

Darren Woods, Exxon’s chief executive and chairman, said on Wednesday the company was “committed to growing shareholder value by meeting the world’s energy demands today and pursuing a technology-driven strategy to succeed through the energy transition.”

Investment firms Engine No. 1 and D.E. Shaw have pressed for changes at Exxon for months. Engine No. 1 has pushed for the naming of directors with more energy industry expertise.

On Monday, Exxon named activist investor Jeffrey Ubben and former Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis as directors.

Exxon’s share price has climbed 36% since January but the company also reported a $22 billion loss last year.

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