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Last week, despite public opposition to some board members, shareholders voted to re-elect Exxon’s board of directors at the oil and gas giant’s annual meeting. Controversy over the board has arisen as of late as executives are pursuing a lawsuit against certain investors who dropped a proposal pushing Exxon to meet more ambitious environmental targets.

CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund, was one of the entities urging shareholders to vote against re-electing the current board. 

In a memo ahead of the vote, CalPERS leadership wrote, “Shareholder rights are a cornerstone of CalPERS’ approach to corporate governance.” They go on to say, “If ExxonMobil succeeds in silencing voices and upending the rules of shareholder democracy, what other subjects will the leaders of any company make off limits? Worker safety? Excessive executive compensation?”

After the shareholder meeting last week, Marcie Frost, CalPERS CEO, said, “It was more a very clear communication that we say this is an absolute failure in governance, and governance is the responsibility of the entire board,” clarifying that the move to vote against the board was to raise the issue. 

And according to Pensions & Investments, CalPERS will continue to keep a close eye on Exxon: “CalPERS officials still have their eyes on Exxon Mobil’s lawsuit against shareholder Arjuna Capital and said they aren’t ruling out further action after the pension fund and other investors voted against company directors at the oil giant’s recent shareholder meeting.”