Top Exxon investors State Street, Vanguard backed activist nominees

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An Exxon gas station is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

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May 27 (Reuters) - Asset manager State Street Corp (STT.N) voted for two of the four candidates put forward by activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 for Exxon Mobil's board, a spokesman for the Boston firm said late on Thursday.

State Street was Exxon's (XOM.N) third-largest investor according to its proxy statement. Late on Wednesday Exxon's largest investor Vanguard Group said it also backed two dissident nominees, details that fleshed out how Engine No. 1 was able to capture at least two board seats at the biggest U.S. oil producer.

The complete makeup of Exxon Mobil's 12-member board might not be known until next week, the company said on Thursday, with votes still being counted in the battle over the company's record on climate change. read more

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State Street spokesman Ed Patterson said via e-mail the firm voted for dissident nominees Kaisa Hietala and for Alexander Karsner, along with eight Exxon board nominees on the dissident's white proxy card.

The two would help Exxon's board "oversee an energy transition strategy, underpinned by an appropriate capital allocation approach," State Street said.

In its earlier statement Vanguard said it voted for Hietala and for Gregory Goff, the two dissident nominees it said were "well-positioned to add both conventional oil and gas industry and transformational energy perspectives to Exxon’s board."

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Reporting by Ross Kerber Editing by Chris Reese

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