Published 5/27/2020 (Updated 7/15/2020): In this impassioned message to Chevron stockholders, audio of which was played during the company's May 27 annual meeting, actor Alec Baldwin presented shareholder proposal #10 "Independent Board Chair", on behalf of Newground. Separating the roles of chairman and CEO would add greater oversight and protect shareholders from risky or reckless behavior, such as management's decades-long effort to escape liability for the company's toxic oil pollution in Ecuador's Amazon region, and its reckless legal harassment of human rights lawyers.
Baldwin calls Chevron "the Harvey Weinstein of petroleum companies" for its efforts to delay and avoid justice – which he terms a "corporate strategy based on luck not running out." Baldwin goes on to detail why Chevron’s controversial RICO victory against human rights lawyer Steven Donziger does not protect it from liability in Ecuador.
At the meeting, Chevron announced the "Independent Chair" resolution #10 received votes FOR representing an unusually high 27% of company stock, despite the board's opposition to the proposal.
Watch the video below. A full transcript follows. For other materials related to this (including videos by Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters) visit: www.newground.net/chevron
Transcript of Alec Baldwin's message to Chevron shareholders:
Thank you and good morning. My name is Alec Baldwin and I stand on behalf of Newground Social Investment in Seattle to move the “Independent Chair” proposal #10.
Chevron’s Board has not protected shareholder value. A variety of issues outlined in the Proposal demonstrate this, but it is most visible in the 50-year-old environmental disaster the company bought in Ecuador, where Chevron now has more than $9.5 billion in liability, ignores human suffering, and uses shareholder money to personally attack the Ecuadorian’s attorney, Steven Donziger.
Four key elements to remember:
- None of the cases Chevron cites absolve it of clean-up liability – even the Kaplan RICO decision states that.
- After Kaplan’s RICO decision, Chevron’s key witness – under oath – reversed his testimony, admitted to lying on the stand, and confessed that Chevron had coached him and paid him several million dollars to give fraudulent testimony.
- Judge Kaplan has since been reprimanded for judicial overreach, and the private law firm he appointed to prosecute Donziger lied about having previously been on Chevron’s payroll.
- 29 Nobel Laureates recently signed a letter that urges cleanup and denounces Chevron’s unprecedented actions against Donziger. The tide of public opinion is turning.
No company can perpetually avoid consequences. Harvey Weinstein thought that through intimidation and litigation he could avoid justice, but he now sits in jail. Chevron seems like the Harvey Weinstein of petroleum companies, and shareholders should be terribly concerned about a corporate strategy that appears to depend on luck not running out.
Shareholders would have benefitted had Chevron properly addressed its obligations when buying Texaco. But then, as now, the company didn’t have adequate insight or oversight – which is why I encourage a vote FOR this “Independent Board Chair” proposal.
To learn more about Newground's shareholder engagement work with Chevron, visit https://newground.net/chevron.
RESULTS: The two shareholder proposals filed by Newground at Chevron received the following high levels of support at the company's May 27th virtual stockholder meeting:
- Proposal #9: Special Meetings: 34.3%
- Proposal #10: Independent Chair: 26.9%