April 30, 2008 / 2:17 AM / 11 years ago

Rockefeller family members urge change at Exxon

Exxon Mobil Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson speaks at a news conference following the Exxon Mobil annual shareholders meeting in Dallas, Texas May 30, 2007. Members of the wealthy Rockefeller family who are shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp are concerned about the oil company's direction under Tillerson and support a bid to split his job, and name an independent chairman to the board. REUTERS/Mike Stone

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Members of the wealthy Rockefeller family who are shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) are concerned about the oil company’s direction under Chief Executive Rex Tillerson and support a bid to split his job, and name an independent chairman to the board.

Descendants of oil baron John D. Rockefeller have sponsored four shareholder proposals this year that raise a range of concerns about Tillerson’s failure to address the future of energy and related industry hurdles, they said.

The family is also pushing for a bigger role for Exxon’s board of directors. The family’s stake in the company was not immediately known, according to a spokesman.

Several family members plan to hold a rare news conference on Wednesday in New York to discuss their concerns, they said in a statement on Monday.

Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Co in 1870, which was a precursor to Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil is the world’s largest publicly traded oil company based on market capitalization.

“The board believes that the most effective leadership structure for Exxon Mobil Corporation at the present time is for Mr. Tillerson to serve as both Chairman and CEO,” Exxon said in response to the proposal for an independent director in its annual proxy statement.

Exxon’s annual meeting is scheduled for May 28.

Shares of Exxon Mobil closed off 1 cent at $92.45 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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