TotalEnergies Investors Call For Split of CEO, Chair Roles

A group of TotalEnergies investors has called for the French oil and gas major to split the roles of chief executive officer and chairman, which they say could speed up its shift away from fossil fuels.

The resolution to be proposed for inclusion at TotalEnergies’ annual general meeting on May 24 was put forward by 19 international investors holding around 20 million shares, together with Swiss pension fund investor group Ethos Foundation and the French Sustainable Investment Forum (FIR).

Patrick Pouyanne has been CEO and chairman at the world’s fifth-largest listed oil company for nearly a decade and spearheaded a strategy of growing oil and gas output while also increasing renewable energy, Reuters reported.

“The separation of functions could improve dialogue with the board … on climate transition issues and ensure a better balance of power at a time when many investors are of the opinion that TotalEnergies’ transition strategy is not ambitious enough,” the resolution said.

TotalEnergies does not envision a major reduction in emissions from its products by 2030. The company’s board of directors will decide at an April 25 meeting whether the resolution will be accepted and added to the Annual He General Meeting (AGM) agenda for a shareholder vote, a company spokesperson said.

“In France, the choice of governance of the company through a combined or dissociated Chairman and CEO role is by law a competence of the Board of directors,” they said.

“A shareholder’s resolution is likely to be regarded as inadmissible in this context, regardless of its advisory nature,” they added.

Climate-focused investors have increased pressure on the world’s top oil and gas companies in recent years to cut carbon emissions and move away from fossil fuels production.

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