Written by Miranda Marquit
Photo: denis collette, Creative Commons, Flickr
New blood may lead to gradual changes at the biggest of Big Oil companies.
For years -- even decades -- Exxon Mobil (XOM) has exercised a business strategy that focuses almost exclusively on the bottom line -- and almost exclusively on fossil fuels (especially oil). But things might be changing, even with the failure of the Rockefeller family to dilute Rex Tillerson's power last month.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in the next few years the old board of directors will be gradually replaced by a new board. And that new board, the Journal insists, may bring with it new environmental policies:
The old guard is starting to change at the oil and natural-gas behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp., as newcomers begin to succeed long-serving directors who have reached retirement age.
Though gradual -- only two of 12 directors are new this year -- the turnover may ultimately bring fresh viewpoints to a board that critics have contended is controlled by management at a company widely regarded as highly successful but extremely insular.
What does this mean for the future of XOM? Who knows. But with oil prices causing many politicians to scramble in their efforts to find alternative energy solutions, it could mean better profits down the road.
Unfortunately, it could also mean that Exxon takes a hit in the shorter term. After all, drastic changes, especially before any hybrid or biofuel technology has been settled on, could be devastating. What if you bet on the wrong horse? Any adaptation of Exxon's business model will have to be gradual. And it may come in unexpected ways. But if Exxon expects to continue to see record profits, the company needs to start evaluating the possibility of small changes now.
Disclosure: I do not invest in XOM.