Behold a pseudo-event. Last week a tiny hedge fund, with 0.02% of Exxon ’s stock, originally sought to name 40% of the company’s directors; a great victory in the climate wars was declared when a shareholder vote appointed two of its nominees to an expanded board of 12.
Except the hedge fund may not be what you think, operating on behalf of anonymous, profit-seeking investors. Its capital is supplied entirely by its founders of five months ago, led by the 30-year hedge fund veteran Chris James of San Francisco. And strangely unfiduciary was its pledge to spend $30 million in a proxy fight over an Exxon stake worth $50 million, which would tend to put its investors already severely underwater. Ditto the fund’s desire, as interpreted in many press accounts, for Exxon to exit the oil industry in favor of wind and solar, in which it has no expertise or advantage.