US pension fund to oppose Aramco chair for RIL board

US pension fund to vote against Aramco chair for Reliance board: Report

The shareholders' voting process to confirm Al-Rumayyan's appointment as independent director, for a period of three years, will end on Oct. 19

 Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Chairman, Saudi Aramco. Credit: Reuters File Photo

The California State Teachers' Retirement Fund (CalSTRS) has decided to vote against the appointment of Saudi Aramco's chairman as an independent director to the board of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries, BloombergQuint reported.

The US pension fund held 5.3 million fully and partly paid shares of Reliance Industries, as of June 30, 2020, according to the last available disclosure on its website.

Also read: Reliance Industries mcap goes past Rs 16 lakh crore mark in intra-day trade

CalSTRS' voting decision is based on US proxy advisory research firm Glass Lewis' recommendation, BloombergQuint reported on Friday.

Reliance, owned by billionaire Ambani, had appointed Aramco's Yasir Al-Rumayyan as an independent director on July 19 in the process of formalising a deal it had struck with the Saudi Arabian company to sell 20 per cent stake in its oil-to-chemicals business.

The shareholders' voting process to confirm Al-Rumayyan's appointment as independent director, for a period of three years, will end on Oct. 19.

Glass Lewis, which makes voting recommendations to more than 1,200 investors across the world, had recommended voting against Al-Rumayyan "based on the director's status as an independent director" of RIL, the report added.

Reliance, CalSTRS and Glass Lewis did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for a comment.

The Indian conglomerate had announced the sale for $15 billion in 2019 to Aramco, the world's top oil-exporting firm, though the deal was stalled after the coronavirus crisis dented oil prices and fuel demand.

Last month, Bloomberg News reported that an agreement between Reliance and Aramco could be reached in the coming weeks. At Aramco's earnings briefing in August, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser had said the company was still doing due diligence on the Reliance deal.

Al-Rumayyan is the chairman of Aramco's Board of Directors and has been the governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia since 2015. 

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