Proxy advisor PIRC recommends vote against Chevron CEO

Chevron Corp Vice Chairman Michael Wirth speaks at Gastech, the world's biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

May 12 (Reuters) - Governance advisor Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) on Wednesday recommended shareholders of Chevron Corp (CVX.N) cast votes against Chief Executive Michael Wirth at the company's upcoming shareholder meeting.

PIRC urged opposition to Wirth because of the company's combined board chairman and CEO roles. The No. 2 U.S. oil producer also faces several climate and governance proposals that London-based PIRC said it supports.

It has pledged to limit the pace of growth of its carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, but has not set longer-term targets to achieve net zero as many European rivals have done.

PIRC is the first of the major proxy advisory firms to comment ahead of the company's May 26 shareholder meeting.

Chevron directors recognize the importance of independent oversight and have "structures and practices to enhance such oversight," spokesman Sean Comey said, including selecting a lead director from among themselves when the CEO is selected as chairman.

"The role of the lead director is highly empowered," Comey said.

PIRC recommended votes in favor of shareholder resolutions that include asking the company to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its products, report on how net zero scenarios would impact business, report more information on lobbying, become a public benefit corporation and split the board chairman and CEO roles after the next chief executive transition.

The company is recommending that its investors vote against the shareholder proposals, including the one for an independent board chair.

Reporting by Jennifer Hiller Editing by Chris Reese

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