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The activist investor that stunned Exxon in board fight has its sights set on another big oil company

Business Insider India logo Business Insider India 03-09-2021 Ethan Wu
a sign on the side of a building: The activist investor that stunned Exxon in board fight has its sights set on another big oil company © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The activist investor that stunned Exxon in board fight has its sights set on another big oil company
  • Engine No. 1, the activist hedge fund that forced a green-energy pivot at Exxon, may be targeting another oil company.
  • The activists have been in active discussions with other investors about purchasing Chevron shares.
  • Regardless of whether the firm launches a campaign, its impact is already being felt at Chevron.

Engine No. 1, the activist hedge fund that forced a green-energy pivot at Exxon, is now eyeing a similar campaign against Chevron, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The activists have been in active discussions with other investors about purchasing Chevron shares, which could be a prelude to another campaign to seize board seats, according to the Journal. As it stands, Engine No. 1 hasn't committed to any campaign yet, in part because it is engaged in "cordial" talks with Chevron management, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

Regardless of whether the firm launches a campaign, its impact is already being felt at Chevron. Engine No. 1's stunning victory at Exxon jolted Chevron execs, spurring them to develop more ambitious emissions-reduction targets that will be announced soon, according to the Journal.

But unlike European oil-giant peers like BP and Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron will not commit to net-zero emissions, with CEO Mike Wirth saying such targets are not realistic. Both Exxon and Chevron are well known for investing relatively little in renewable energy and doubling down on fossil fuels.

Avoiding a net-zero stance is so far in line with most other American oil firms, but that may be changing. In August, Exxon was reportedly debating shifting to net-zero in the wake of the Engine No. 1 campaign.

In June, the activist fund launched an ETF, called VOTE, which promised to deploy investors' capital in pursuit of socially beneficial changes on corporate boards.

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