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Exxon Extends Gains After Activist Investor Jeff Ubben Addition to Board

Exxon Mobil could add activist investor Jeff Ubben to its board of directors, CNBC reported Monday, as the oil major faces further pressures to sharpen its low-carbon strategies.

Exxon Mobil  (XOM)  shares surged higher Monday after the second-biggest oil major said it will add activist investor Jeff Ubben to its board of directors. 

Multiple media reports, first published by Bloomberg, had suggested Ubben's recently-launched Inclusive Capital Partners group would build a notable stake in Exxon if the activist, who also has the backing of hedge fund investors D.E. Shaw, were added to the board.  CNBC reported Monday that Ubben, as well as former Comcast Corp. CMCSA CFO Mike Angelakis, will be named as the company's newest non-executive members later today.

“We welcome these new directors as part of our ongoing board refreshment, which builds on the diverse global business experience of our current members,” said CEO Darren Woods. “Michael and Jeff’s expertise in capital allocation and strategy development has helped companies navigate complex transitions for the benefit of shareholders and broader stakeholders."

"Their contributions will be valued as ExxonMobil advances plans to increase shareholder value by responsibly providing needed energy while playing a leadership role in the energy transition,” he added.

Exxon shares were marked 4.2% higher in early trading Monday to change hands at $56.70 each, a move that extends the stock's six-month gain to around 44%. 

Exxon added former Pentronas CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin to its board earlier this month as activists mounted pressure on the group to accelerate its transition to lower-carbon strategies following its first annual loss as a public company on February 2.

Exxon also announced the creation of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, and said it would invest $3 billion into the group by 2025 as it aims to reduce greenhouse gas by as much as 20% from their 2016 levels.

Exxon, which less than a decade ago was considered the biggest company in the world, was dumped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average on August 31 after nearly 100 years inside the world's most-recognizable stock index.

Exxon was replaced by  (CRM) , a client software group founded in 1999 -- when Exxon had the world's eighth largest market value of $266 billion.