Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson commits to business as usual

It takes a brave man to stare down a pleading nun, but that’s what Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson did yesterday. At a shareholder meeting in Dallas, Sister Pat Daly of New Jersey and others spoke in support of a resolution her order submitted, proposing that Exxon set emissions-reduction targets. No thanks, said Tillerson, “I’m not going to put a banner up, and I’m not going to adopt a slogan.” A mere 31 percent of Exxon shareholders* voted in favor. A resolution suggesting that Exxon — which raked in a record $39.5 billion last year — invest in renewable energy fared worse, garnering 7 percent support. Tillerson: “We’re not in that business. We’re in the business of oil and gas.” While the hard-nosed CEO did acknowledge that Exxon needs to “understand these issues better,” he affected surprise at the opposition to his company’s climate stance, including dozens of protesters outside the meeting: “What I find perplexing is why people feel so threatened because we want to have a discussion about it.”

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*[Correction, 31 May 2007: This article originally stated that 31 percent of the 450 people present at the meeting voted in favor of the emissions-reduction resolution, when in fact it was 31 percent of Exxon shareholders.]

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