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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

Everyone wants to be an influencer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The number of people looking to become online influencers has exploded during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Almost anyone can find themselves in a position to become an influencer, and brands are throwing billions of dollars at online content creators.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

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