Shareholders Re-Elect 12 Exxon Directors, Reject 2 Shareholder Proposals
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Exxon Corp. shareholders re-elected 12 directors but rejected two stockholder proposals at the oil company’s 113th annual meeting Wednesday, two days after Exxon reported surging first-quarter profits.
``Within the parameters of safe and responsible operations, our objective is to remain the world’s most profitable oil company,″ chairman Lee Raymond told several hundred shareholders gathered at the Tarrant County Convention Center in downtown Fort Worth.
Raymond characterized 1994 as a year of persistent challenging conditions in the petroleum industry. He also criticized last year’s verdicts in civil litigation over the massive 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
``As you know, we were deeply disappointed by the verdicts returned by an Alaskan jury finding Exxon reckless in the accident and awarding $5 billion in punitive damages,″ Raymond said.
``We believe that both verdicts were unwarranted, and we plan to use every legal means available to overturn them in the appellate courts. We expect this process to go on for several more years, and we do appreciate the strong support we’ve received from the shareholders,″ he said.
At the assembly, which lasted just over an hour, shareholders rejected a proposal by well-known shareholder gadfly Evelyn Y. Davis to change the annual meeting date for the Irving, Texas-based company to the last Friday in April.
They also voted down a proposal submitted by the Sinsinawa Dominicans of Chicago asking for a report on the company’s mining operations. Specifically, the proposal asked the report include an assessment of Exxon mining’s impact on indigenous people and the environment, as well as local resistance.
Three speakers described opposition by several Native American and other groups to a planned mining project in northern Wisconsin.
Exxon’s board of directors opposed both proposals, which received 4.6 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, of votes from shareholders who cast ballots.
Another issue was raised at the meeting by a representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Enid Breakstone urged Exxon to cover its exhaust stacks to prevent birds and bats from becoming trapped inside them, burning or starving to death.
Raymond, however, said Exxon has inspected equipment and found no evidence of a problem, including no reported bird deaths in the past year.
Separately, Exxon’s board on Wednesday declared a cash dividend of 75 cents per share on common stock, payable June 10, the same dividend paid in the first quarter of this year.
On Monday, Exxon reported profits of $1.66 billion, or $1.33 per share, a 43 percent increase over the first quarter of 1994. Revenue rose 15 percent, to $29.8 billion. Chemical profits, which Raymond called ``a current bright spot″ for the company, more than tripled.
``We believe the outlook for our corporation remains very positive,″ he said.