First, a bit of history:
Standard Oil, the company John D. Rockefeller founded and turned into an economic superpower, was forced to break up into roughly 34 different companies around 1911. Two of these pieces eventually became Exxon and Mobile respectively. As you all know, these two companies are now combined, which has created the worlds largest integrated oil company. Since this new economic superpower was born from the Standard Oil breakup, the Rockefeller family still has significant power within ExxonMobile - through stock ownership, trusts, and personal clout.
This is a very good thing. They are on the offensive.
A statement issued yesterday by the Rockefeller family was a warning shot, saying that Exxon's leadership is "failing to address the future of energy and related industry hurdles," and that "a majority of the family is now so concerned about the direction of ExxonMobil Corporation that it is urging a major change."
The Rockefeller family has previously taken many pro-environment steps, but, of late, the steps are becoming bolder. Multiple family members are now pushing for major change at Exxon due to concerns over the company's direction under Chief Executive Rex Tillerson (a runner-up for Fossil Fool of the Year). They want to see his job split, with an independent chairman appointed to the board.
An excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
"They are concerned Exxon's senior management has tunnel vision and is too absorbed with the challenges of daily management of multibillion dollar oil and natural-gas projects to ask hard questions about the future of fossil fuels. Mr. Tillerson and other Exxon executives have said they believe oil and gas will represent the vast majority of energy consumption for decades."
Keep your eyes and ears open as several family members are scheduled to have a news conference this Wednesday on the issue.