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Exxon Mobil shareholders reject pay measure

Curb on executive compensation fails by wide margin

DALLAS -- Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders, whose last chief executive took home $147 million when he retired, overwhelmingly rejected resolutions to rein in compensation at the oil company's annual meeting yesterday.

Chairman and chief executive Rex W. Tillerson said some shareholders sent a signal by withholding votes for board members who approved former chief executive Lee R. Raymond's widely publicized pay and pension packages.

``We all recognize that there has been a lot of controversy and comment around compensation," said Tillerson, who took over in January after Raymond retired.

Raymond was paid $49 million in cash and restricted stock last year, then got a $98 million lump-sum pension payment.

In comments after his first shareholder meeting as chief executive of the world's largest publicly traded oil company, Tillerson said it's up to Exxon Mobil directors to prevent him from getting a Raymond-like package in a few years. He hasn't asked them to limit his compensation, but ``they know how to reach me," he said.

Exxon Mobil earned $36.1 billion last year -- the most ever by any U S corporation -- helping spur talk in Congress of a windfall-profits tax on oil companies. Tillerson said it would be a mistake to let frustration with high oil prices affect energy policy.

The company maintains its disdain for alternative fuels, which Tillerson said won't be a practical replacement for oil and gas for decades. Tillerson said Exxon Mobil won't invest in lower-return products.

Most of the 13 shareholder resolutions -- all opposed by the board -- dealt with corporate-governance issues, including three on executive and director compensation. None of the three got more than 12.9 percent support, according to the company.

A firm that advises large shareholders recommended withholding votes for four directors on Exxon Mobil's compensation committee. The North Carolina treasurer had indicated this week that his state's pension fund would withhold votes from five directors in protest over Raymond's compensation.

Those four directors received 79 to 82 percent of the shares cast, while the other eight directors were re elected with margins in the mid-90s, a spokesman said.

Across the street, about 50 demonstrators from a group called Expose Exxon donned oil drums and chanted slogans such as ``Human need, not corporate greed." Two dozen police officers watched the group, and a police helicopter hovered above.

``We're asking Exxon Mobil to start investing in clean alternative renewable energy like its competitors do," said the director of Washington-based Expose Exxon, Shawnee Hoover.

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