Not surprisingly, the Securities and Exchange Commission has rubber stamped Chevron's request to remove a shareholder resolution from consideration at its annual shareholders meeting that would have stripped John Watson of his Chairman's title and responsibilities. Watson currently is the CEO and Chairman.
The SEC decision makes it look like the corporate tool it is, and Chevron, well, the corporate thug readers of The Chevron Pit have come to know.
A growing number of shareholders are concerned about the way Chevron is handling the $19 billion Ecuador judgment for massive oil contamination facing the company and have proposed a resolution to hold top executives more accountable by splitting the role of Chair and CEO, as many other companies have done. Last year, a similar resolution won the support of 38 percent of Chevron shareholders.
Today, though, the SEC big footed Chevron's request, depriving shareholders an opportunity to vote on the resolution again. The move is in keeping with SEC's weak oversight of corporate America in general and an attempt to silence shareholders.
It will, however, take more than the SEC to silence these shareholders, some of whom have been subpoenaed by Chevron in its desperate legal attacks in the U.S. to stop enforcement of the judgment.
Two other resolutions will be voted on by shareholders: one to appoint an environmental expert to the board and the other to explain why Chevron has subpoenaed several shareholder groups, including Trillium Asset Management, along with several dozen environmentalists, law students and summer interns.
See this New York Times article by Gretchen Morgenson and a San Francisco Chronicle article by David Baker.
Expect to see shareholders out in full force at the May 29th meeting without the resolution, but resolute to hold Chevron accountable for its environmental crimes.