ExxonMobil Shareholders Challenge CEO Pay Geyser

Press Release
For Immediate Release - May 24, 2001
Contact: Molly Lanzarotta
(617) 423-2148 x39

ExxonMobil Shareholders Challenge CEO Pay Geyser

Resolution asks for cost-cutting in the executive suite as well as the refinery

Are employees seen as valuable assets to ExxonMobil, or costs to be cut? Shareholders will present a resolution at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting on Wednesday, May 30, in Dallas, Texas, calling on the board to freeze CEO pay during periods of downsizing. The resolution asks the company’s leaders to lead by example and hold their own compensation in check when it is necessary to reduce costs.

Over the last two decades, ExxonMobil has led the oil industry in eliminating jobs, cutting 238,000 of the 361,000 jobs Exxon and Mobil had worldwide in 1982. ExxonMobil’s CEO Lee Raymond announced the elimination of 16,000 jobs in 1999, the same year his own total compensation rose 50% to $47 million. Mr. Raymond’s compensation that year exceeded the combined compensation of the CEOs of Chevron, Sunoco, Amerada Hess, Conoco, and Texaco by 55%.

The resolution to be presented by Responsible Wealth representative Tomás Aguilar calls for a pay and option freeze for executives in years when more than 5% of the workforce or 1,000 employees are laid off. A system that rewards executives while asking all other employees to sacrifice sends a mixed message to employees, the public and shareholders.

From 1990 to 2000, average worker pay nationwide increased 32%, just slightly more than inflation, while CEO pay rose 535%.

Photo opportunity: Attendees of a conference, "Empowering Democracy: Challenging Corporate Power and Demanding Accountability," will demonstrate outside the ExxonMobil meeting at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas at 9:00 a.m. on May 30. The three-day conference is sponsored by the Corporate Campaign Working Group. For more information, visit www.empoweringdemocracy.org.

Responsible Wealth has filed shareholder resolutions related to executive compensation at seven companies: AT&T, Disney, FleetBoston, Raytheon, Household International, and Citigroup, as well as ExxonMobil. Supporting the resolutions is a recent study by Scott Klinger which concludes that skyrocketing CEO pay foreshadows poor stock performance.

The report and the texts of the shareholder resolutions can be found at www.responsiblewealth.org.

Responsible Wealth, a project of United for a Fair Economy, is a growing network of over 450 businesspeople, investors and affluent Americans in the top 5 percent of income and wealth who work to promote widely shared prosperity. United for a Fair Economy is a national, independent non-profit that spotlights growing economic inequality and inspires action to narrow the wage gap