first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina will withhold its shareholder votes for five directors at Exxon Mobil Corp.’s annual meeting this week to protest high executive pay as gasoline prices soar, State Treasurer Richard Moore said Tuesday. Grabbing on to an issue popular among voters, Moore said the North Carolina retirement system will decline to support the re-election of the directors who have served on the board’s compensation committee. The system owns 11 million shares of Exxon Mobil stock valued at $663 million. The company’s annual meeting is Wednesday in Dallas. Congress and the public have complained about a nearly $400 million retirement package given recently to the energy giant’s former chairman, Lee Raymond. “As shareholders, we are outraged that executives are using soaring gas prices, which are hitting consumers at the pump, to fatten their own wallets,” Moore said in a statement. “The excessive pay packages, like that seen at Exxon Mobil, diminish shareholder value and are evidence of policies that fail to generate long-term value for shareholders.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Exxon Mobil spokesman Russ Roberts said the compensation committee considered the long-term performance of the company and Raymond’s experience when deciding his 2005 compensation, which helped determine the size of his pension. He said the company was disappointed in Moore’s decision to withhold the votes. The pension system’s shares in Exxon Mobil account for the single largest holding in the state’s public equity fund. About half of the shares are held in indexed funds managed by outside advisers, according to Moore, who is the sole fiduciary agent of the retirement system’s $72 billion in assets and decides how to vote on shareholder issues. The shares make up just a small fraction of Exxon Mobil’s roughly 6 billion outstanding shares. It’s unclear whether the move by Moore or other shareholders will make a difference or block the directors from being seated. Moore said in an interview that he believes the state’s decision should send a strong message to the energy giant that it shouldn’t hand out performance-based pay raises while it and other oil executives tell Congress they have little control over increasing gasoline prices and the resulting record profits. “That doesn’t wash with me,” Moore said. “They can’t have it both ways. So we’re calling our hand on this.”last_img