BlackRock Withheld Support From Two Key Exxon Directors

BlackRock Inc withheld support from two high-profile directors at Exxon Mobil Corp, securities filings show, a rare spat apparently driven by a board communications policy at the world’s largest energy company.┬áBecause top fund managers like BlackRock rarely discuss their votes in detail, filings in late August to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provide a rare window into the influential ballots they cast at springtime shareholder meetings like the one held by Exxon on May 25, one of this year’s more contentious.┬áBlackRock, which manages nearly $5 trillion, has been criticized for largely supporting company managers on matters like executive pay or electing directors. BlackRock funds have backed corporate directors around 97 percent of the time since 2013, according to research firm Proxy Insight, and mostly backed Exxon at this year’s meeting such as opposing shareholder proposals addressing climate change.

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