A group of TotalEnergies shareholders announced on Thursday that they had filed a resolution to separate the functions of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer.

The Ethos Foundation, set up by Swiss pension funds specializing in socially responsible investment, says it has joined forces with a coalition of 19 international investors representing over one billion of the French oil group's capitalization.

Separation of functions is now widely recognized as good corporate governance practice, and is now applied by two-thirds of CAC 40 companies", say the custodians.

The Ethos Foundation recalls that it has already tabled resolutions in the past to put an end to the combination of functions at Zurich Insurance in 2002, Nestlé in 2005 and Novartis in 2010.

Patrick Pouyanné, appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2014, became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer a year later following the Board's decision to combine the functions of Chairman and CEO.

He succeeded Thierry Desmarest, whose term as Chairman of the Board expired in December 2015.

The concentration of power in the hands of one and the same person represents an intrinsic risk of conflicts of interest, insofar as the role of the Board of Directors is to ensure that the company's interests are respected.of the Board of Directors is to ensure that the general management of the company is exercised in the interests of the shareholders and all stakeholders', add the signatories.

In the case of TotalEnergies, the depositors say they do not wish to call into question Patrick Pouyanné's role as CEO, but are seeking to introduce better governance.

In particular, they believe that separating the two roles could improve dialogue with the Board of Directors on climate issues by ensuring a better balance of power, judging that TotalEnergies' transition strategy is not sufficiently ambitious.

Signatories include, among others, Candriam, Belgian bank Degroof Petercam, French fund Mandarine Gestion and Sycomore Asset Management.

Between them, these investors claim to represent over 1,000 billion in assets under management.

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