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Calstrs’s Crucial Phone Call Eased Path for Activists’ Exxon Win

It was Aeisha Mastagni who was pressing for change and supporting Engine No. 1.

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At the height of the proxy battle led by investment fund Engine No. 1 to name a slate of dissident directors with environmental and energy experience to the board of Exxon Mobil Corp., in March, the oil giant suddenly added two more climate-aware members to its board.

It was the kind of half-measure that might have buried the long-shot campaign led by Engine No. 1, an underdog activist fund, if enough investors had been convinced that Exxon was sincere, recalls Kirsten Snow Spalding, senior program director of the Investor Network at Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit.