(Corrects paragraph 2 to reflect that shareholder activists
want corporations to split the chairman and CEO positions,
instead of splice the positions)
By Ernest Scheyder
MIDLAND, Texas May 28 Shareholders of Chevron
Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, rejected a
proposal on Wednesday to split the roles of chairman and chief
executive, both currently held by John Watson.
The vote casts further doubt on the long-running campaign by
shareholder activists to force some of the largest U.S.
corporations to split the positions, a step they say would
support greater oversight and transparency.
About 81 percent of the 1.5 billion shares cast at the
company's annual meeting in Midland, Texas, voted against the
proposal, which was sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist
Chevron said having the flexibility to decide for itself
whether the roles should be combined was key to staying
"The board votes every year on keeping the positions
together and this year was no different," Watson said at the
meeting, held at the Permian Midland Petroleum Basin.
Similar proposals have been rejected by shareholders at
JPMorgan, Exxon Mobil and other major
corporations in the past year.
The meeting was held in West Texas so Chevron could
highlight to its shareholders its growing Permian shale
operation, which Vice Chairman George Kirkland told Reuters
earlier this week would become a top-five asset by 2020.
Chevron's shareholders also rejected a non-binding say on
executive compensation, as well as proposals that would have
required the company to disclose more information on its
fracking operations, details on why it operates in Myanmar and
other politically unstable countries, and data on all corporate
donations in excess of $5,000.
Shareholders declined to lower the threshold of outstanding
shares needed to call a special meeting to 10 percent. The
California-based company's bylaws currently stipulate a 15
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC was confirmed as the
company's auditor, and all 12 members of the board of directors
were reelected, including Watson.
Shares of Chevron rose slightly to $123.13 in morning
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Franklin Paul and