How Exxon Lost a Board Battle With a Small Hedge Fund

The oil giant’s unexpected boardroom defeat by an activist investor hinged on a few key moments.

By Michael J. de la Merced

Early this year, leaders of Exxon Mobil, the vast oil company descended from the Standard Oil empire, found themselves in an unusual situation: defending the oil giant against a tiny activist investor calling for a major shake-up in the name of climate change. Even more unusually, they were on the back foot.

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