A hedge fund launched only last year proved to be the little Engine No. 1 that could on Wednesday, winning at least two seats on the ExxonMobil board.

The upstart hedge fund, which controls only 0.02% of the shares, last year began a quest to force change at the Irving, TX-based supermajor. In January, it nominated four people to the 12-member board in what many considered a long-shot effort.

However, based on preliminary vote estimates by the annual general meeting (AGM) proxy solicitor, shareholders elected eight ExxonMobil nominees to the board and two Engine No. 1 nominees.

Results for five nominees were too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon.

Reelected were CEO Darren Woods, Michael Angelakis, Susan Avery, Angela Braly, Ursula Burns, Kenneth Frazier, Joseph...