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Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

ExxonMobil, under pressure to boost financial performance and do more on climate change, says it's on the cusp of changes.

Driving the news: The oil giant said Wednesday it would soon update shareholders on plans to "build long-term, sustainable value," and new steps to commercialize tech that's "key to reducing emissions."

  • It came after investment group Engine No. 1 — which is pushing for changes in capital spending and climate posture — formally nominated four people to Exxon's board.

Why it matters: Exxon is feeling the heat.

  • The fight over its board makeup follows years of rocky financial performance, aggressive spending, and as the industry faces calls from investors, the public and governments to do more on climate.
  • Exxon, like other companies, has recently cut capital spending as the pandemic has hammered prices and demand. And it unveiled new targets for curbing emissions intensity last month.
  • But it remains under pressure as European-based majors are acting more aggressively to diversify (though oil and gas remain the dominant business lines for these companies on both sides of the Atlantic).

The intrigue: The Wall Street Journal reports Exxon is "is discussing adding one or more new directors to the board." It also reports Exxon's talks with the D.E. Shaw Group, another group of activist investors pushing for more disciplined spending and stronger emissions efforts. D.E. Shaw may support Exxon's plans, according to the piece.

What's next: Exxon reports fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, so we'll be looking for more info — at least hints — of its plans.

What we're watching: How this all plays out when shareholders vote at Exxon's annual meeting later this year.

  • Exxon says it has "engaged with Engine No. 1 since mid-December." But Engine No. 1's statement yesterday said Exxon has taken only "incremental steps in the face of financial and shareholder pressure."
  • The nominees include Anders Runevad, former CEO of wind turbine heavyweight Vestas, and Alexander Karsner, a strategist with X, the "moonshot factory" of Google parent Alphabet.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

53 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.