I was just having an argument with someone today. They said companies will never change because the people running them are afraid they'll be fired if they put anything before profits. That's the excuse you sometimes hear. "Making profit for the shareholders is my main responsibility," kind of thing.

But today's article in the New York Times, titled "Rockefellers Seek Change at Exxon", shows how that's getting turned on it's head. Here you have major shareholders in a company making record breaking profits up in arms about the CEO Rex W. Tillerson's refusal to take the long view.

From the article:

The family members have thrown their support behind a shareholder rebellion that is ruffling feathers at Exxon Mobil, the giant oil company descended from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust.

Three of the resolutions, to be voted on at the company’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday, are considered unlikely to pass, even with Rockefeller family support.

The resolutions ask Exxon to take the threat of global warming more seriously and look for alternatives to spewing greenhouse gases into the air.

And there are fantastic quotes from the family members too:

“Exxon Mobil needs to reconnect with the forward-looking and entrepreneurial vision of my great-grandfather,” Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, a Tufts University economist, said in a statement to reporters.

“The truth is that Exxon Mobil is profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago, and by focusing on a narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world,” she added.

...

David Rockefeller, retired chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and patriarch of the family, issued a statement saying, “I support my family’s efforts to sharpen Exxon Mobil’s focus on the environmental crisis facing all of us.”

How cool is that!

Maybe in response to this shareholder pressure, today Exxon finally admitted that funding climate change deniers who distract from the important business of dealing with the problem is a bad idea. More from Page over on DeSmog blog and on Exxon Secrets.