Exec Who Led Engine No 1 Exxon Campaign to Leave

Exec Who Led Engine No 1 Exxon Campaign to Leave
Charlie Penner was in charge of Engine No. 1's active engagement practice.

The executive who led Engine No. 1’s campaign to overhaul the board of Exxon Mobil Corp. is leaving the firm. 

Charlie Penner was in charge of Engine No. 1’s active engagement practice. In May, the upstart investment firm got a slate of three directors elected to the oil giant’s board despite owning just 0.02% of its shares. The Exxon fight is the most high-profile proof to date that environmental and social issues are a top issue for investors. 

Engine No. 1 confirmed Penner’s departure in a statement Monday.

“We appreciate the tremendously valuable work Charlie put in at Engine No. 1, especially on the Exxon campaign, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said the firm.

His departure was first reported by Reuters, which cited people familiar with the matter. Penner did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

Penner was a partner at the New York activist firm Jana Partners before joining Engine No. 1. While he was there, Jana teamed up with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to push Apple Inc. to do more to protect children using its phones. The campaign prompted a response from Apple, which also eventually released improved parental controls. 

“The Apple campaign inspired Google to make changes. Even Facebook started talking about user well-being. If you can get Exxon to change, everybody else in the industry has to listen,” Penner said in a Bloomberg interview in May. 

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