Feb 2, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Exxon reports $20 billion dollar loss and new board additions


Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Exxon on Tuesday announced a roughly $20 billion dollar quarterly loss, signaling the latest challenges for the company that has now posted losses in the last four quarters.

Driving the news: The company's Q4 result stemmed from over $19 billion in write-downs on the value of its assets. But excluding the impairments, Exxon posted a small profit of 3 cents per share, and its stock ticked up slightly this morning.

  • "The past year presented the most challenging market conditions ExxonMobil has ever experienced," CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.
  • The company, like other majors, has cut spending steeply amid the pandemic that sent prices and demand downward.

The intrigue: Exxon also announced the addition of Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, a former CEO of Malaysian oil-and-gas giant Petronas, to its board and signaled that more changes are on tap.

  • Exxon "continues discussions with other director candidates with a range of skills sets for potential addition to its board, as part of its ongoing refreshment process," it said, adding that it plans "further action in the near term."

Why it matters: The board changes come as the company, which was posting uneven results well before the pandemic, is under pressure from investors and activists to be more aggressive on climate and more disciplined with its spending.

Yes, but: One of the main groups of shareholder activists, the investment group Engine No. 1, this morning said the changes were not enough. The group has nominated its own slate of board members.

  • "A Board that has underperformed this dramatically and defied shareholder sentiment for this long has not earned the right to choose its own new members or pack itself in the face of calls for change," the group said in an email.

Go deeper: Exxon Mobil reports a $20 billion loss, fourth straight quarter in the red (CNBC)

Go deeper