Annual shareholders meeting

ExxonMobil: Gearing up for a heated annual meeting?

May 24, 2011: 3:27 PM ET

From executive compensation to political and lobbying expenses, the oil giant should expect some impassioned debate at its annual meeting.

By Eleanor Bloxham, contributor

FORTUNE -- The temperature will be rising in Dallas as ExxonMobil shareholders gather on Wednesday for their annual meeting -- and the oil giant's management team will be on the hot seat this year on a whole range of topics.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services is recommending no votes on ExxonMobil's (XOM) executive pay,  as are institutional shareholders AFSCME and RAM Trust  -- and Exxon has eight shareholder proposals on its proxy this year.

Exxon declined to comment on its compensation programs, and Bill George, who chairs the board's compensation committee, wrote in an email to Fortune, "I believe it is appropriate to have Exxon management answer any questions shareholders have at the meeting itself."

Robert A. G. Monks, founder of Lens Governance Advisors, ISS, and RAM Trust, says the environment for asking questions and raising issues at the meetings, however, is inhospitable. "The board is not a stand up board and permits the rude treatment of shareholders" at these meetings, he says.

Rather than offering a meaningful opportunity for dialogue, management "acts as if, as a shareholder, you are an imposition, a waste of their time. They act like bullies."

As a result, Monks no longer attends the company's annual meetings, because otherwise, he says, he would be an "enabler, pretending they are having a real meeting."

Exxon has recommended that shareholders vote against all of the shareholder proposals this year. More

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