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Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

ExxonMobil Monday morning announced two additions to its board as the oil giant faces pressure to boost financial performance and do more on climate.

Driving the news: Activist investor Jeffrey Ubben and Michael Angelakis, CEO of the investment company Atairos and a former senior Comcast Corp. official, are the board's two newest members.

  • Exxon's stock was up around 4% in premarket trading and has generally been on an upward trend in recent months.

What's next: This week should bring even more signs about the company's future.

  • The Texas-based multinational holds its annual investor day on Wednesday at a time of unusual scrutiny on Exxon and oil majors more broadly.

Why it matters: The pandemic-induced price and demand cuts put the industry in a tailspin last year, but both are now rebounding, with crude prices at their highest level in over a year.

  • Nonetheless, the sector is under pressure to do more on climate change and prepare for a world where a peak in oil demand may not be far off.
  • That's all especially relevant to Exxon, which had extremely aggressive multiyear oil-and-gas investment plans before the crisis; has performed unevenly in recent years; and has not thus far not matched the diversification efforts of its European peers.

Where it stands: Exxon's stock is still only at about half the levels achieved in the mid-2010s. Exxon, which lost $22 billion last year, has announced a bunch of changes in recent weeks and months, including...

  • Slashing planned capital spending, which is flexible but for now projected at $20-$25 billion annually through 2025, compared to pre-pandemic plans of $30-$35 billion.
  • The company has unveiled new emissions targets recently and a month ago added the former CEO of Malaysian oil-and-gas giant Petronas to its board.

The intrigue: Some activist investors are looking for bigger changes in Exxon's capital spending levels and emissions policies.

They include the investment group Engine No. 1, which has nominated its own slate of four new members to Exxon's board, including clean technology veterans.

  • But CNBC reports D.E. Shaw, another investment group pushing Exxon for changes, is expected to support the new board additions.
  • Their piece this morning also has details on the new board members.

What they're saying: Exxon CEO Darren Woods, in a statement, said Ubben and Angelakis have expertise that has helped companies "navigate complex transitions."

  • "Their contributions 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.” 

Go deeper

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

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