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Presentation on Special Meetings at Chevron AGM

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At Chevron’s May 30, 2018 annual meeting in San Ramon CA, Newground Social Investment and Investor Voice called for a lower and more reasonable 10% threshold to convene a Special Meeting (it’s currently 15%). Here is the full text of our statement at the meeting:

     Ladies & gentlemen, my name is Simon Billenness, and I stand to represent Investor Voice of Seattle to move item #10 – which seeks a reasonable 10% threshold for stockholders to call a “Special Meeting”.

     Management can call a Special Meeting anytime – and in so doing maintains tight control over both the timing and agenda.  Shareholders deserve the same right to convene a meeting – but one in which shareholders set the time and establish the agenda, free from fetters placed by management.

     Within the reasonable constraint that a 10% threshold provides, why do Chevron shareholders need this right?  We heard earlier about the legal case involving Ecuador.  Given that Chevron management, under oath, has testified that a final verdict in that case would be devastating to our company, three facts loom large for consideration:

  1. A ruling just last week will send the Chevron-Ecuador case to Canada's Supreme Court. 
  2. Chevron has lost three of its last four appellate rulings.
  3. Canada's Supreme Court is considered by many to be one of the world's most friendly toward human rights issues.

     This makes the risk posed by this long-standing litigation particularly acute, and close-at-hand.

     No one expects Chevron to meekly roll over.  But our company did accept responsibility when it purchased Texaco’s liabilities, and it’s true that a settlement decades ago when this began might well have cost less than what we’ve shelled out to high-price attorneys for the past quarter-century. 

     Those poor people in Ecuador did suffer harm while Texaco and now our company made profit, so we suggest that a reasonable party would see benefit in extending a helping hand while also curtailing future costs.  How best to achieve such an outcome is what shareholders need access to a Special Meeting to discuss, because it’s clear that the liability of potential judgements against our company has mounted exponentially during the decades that Chevron’s management has hot-headedly pleaded innocence.

     Now we see an international campaign – signed by more than a million members – that calls on Chevron’s largest shareholder to vote FOR a change-of-course; and we also see Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) formally recommending a vote FOR this proposal. 

Therefore, please vote FOR item #10, a reasonable (and quite necessary) good-governance proposal that brings a sane perspective to issues concerning shareholders. 

Thank you.