The Rockefeller family has expressed concern over how ExxonMobile, the world's largest oil company of which the family are major shareholders, is being run. "A majority of the family is now so concerned about the direction of ExxonMobil that it is urging a major change in corporate governance in the form of an independent chairman of the board and a bigger leadership role for the oil company's board of directors," the family said in a statement.
The Rockefellers have previously had a behind the scenes role in the firm but are now pressing for a shake-up in its corporate governance. Rex Tillerson is currently CEO and chairman of the firm but the family wants to split his role and introduce an external chairman. Exxon has reportedly said that it believes keeping Tillerson in both roles would be in the best interests of the company.
The Rockefeller family has called a news conference for Wednesday (30 April) to discuss their concerns. "After years of working behind the scenes to encourage Exxon's management to approach its industry challenges in new ways, members of the Rockefeller family will publicly explain the concerns held by multiple generations of their family," the family's statement said.
Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, both having originally been part of Standard Oil, which was founded in 1870 by oil baron John D Rockefeller (pictured). Owning 90% of the kerosene market, Standard Oil was found to have originated in illegal monopoly practices and was ordered to be broken up into 34 separate companies in 1911. Rockefeller kept his shares in each company and passed them on to his children. The family was at one time the fourth richest in history.