Exxon’s Temper Flares as Shareholders Exercise Their Rights

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Top executives report to the CEO, the CEO answers to the board, and the board serves at the whim of the shareholders. On Sunday evening, the oil supermajor filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for permission to ignore a shareholder resolution at its next annual meeting. The new shareholder resolution calls on the oil company to reduce its Scope 3 emissions or those that result from the use of its products. Other shareholders tended to be deferential to management, letting them run their business as they saw fit. But as shareholder primacy took root in the public consciousness, more shareholders began to exercise their rights.