Upstart hedge fund Engine No. 1 has captured three board seats at ExxonMobil, in an upset of historic proportions.

Shareholders elected nine company nominees but Engine No. 1 has captured three, the Irving, TX-based supermajor announced last week.

The annual meeting held late last month had already jolted the investor complex, with Engine No. 1, which holds only 0.02% of stock, nabbing two seats outright in the preliminary tally. Based on the updated voting, Engine No. 1 secured a third seat on the 12-member board. 

“We are grateful for shareholders’ careful consideration of our nominees and are excited that these three individuals will be working with the full board to help better position ExxonMobil for the long-term benefit of all shareholders,” Engine No. 1 stated.

The investment firm was formed last year to encourage ExxonMobil to advance low-carbon technologies and reduce emissions. “We believe a company’s performance is greatly enhanced by the investments it makes in workers, communities and the environment,” it stated. “We believe that over time the interests of Main Street and Wall Street align, and we can engage as active owners to create value by focusing on this alignment.”

Engine No. 1, in making its case to shareholders, said “no public company in the history of oil and gas has been more influential than ExxonMobil, and yet the company has failed to evolve with the industry’s transition, resulting in significant underperformance to the detriment of shareholders.

“The energy industry and the world are changing,” the investment firm said. “To protect and enhance value for shareholders, we believe ExxonMobil must change as well. We believe that for ExxonMobil to avoid the fate of other once-iconic American companies, it must better position itself for long-term, sustainable value creation.”

The message resonated with a majority of shareholders. 

Engine No. 1 candidates Gregory Goff and Kaisa Hietala were elected outright at last month’s meeting. ExxonMobil said the third candidate, Alexander Karsner, also has secured a board seat. The fourth Engine No. 1 candidate, Anders Runevad, was not elected.

Goff was executive vice chairman of Marathon Petroleum Corp., which he joined after the company bought Andeavor, now Tesoro Corp., where he was CEO until 2018. Goff also was at ConocoPhillips for almost 30 years. Hietala was executive vice president of Neste’s Renewable Products until 2010.

Karsner is a senior strategist at X, formerly Google X,  the innovation lab of Alphabet Inc., where he is part of the executive leadership team. From 2005 to 2008, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy, responsible for federal research and development programs and National Laboratories.

“We look forward to working with all of our directors to build on the progress we’ve made to grow long-term shareholder value and succeed in a lower-carbon future,” said CEO Darren Woods. “We thank all shareholders for their engagement and participation, and their ongoing support for our company.”

Based on the preliminary results, re-elected ExxonMobil directors were expected to be Woods, Michael Angelakis, Susan Avery, Angela Braly, Ursula Burns, Kenneth Frazier, Joseph Hooley, Douglas Oberhelman and Jeffrey Ubben.