Engine No. 1's Grancio: ‘People Will Appreciate an Economic Argument'
Bloomberg Markets|October - November 2021
ENGINE NO. 1 sent shock waves across corporate America in May when the fledgling investment firm won a boardroom battle with Exxon Mobil Corp., securing three seats on the oil and gas giant’s board after purchasing only about $40 million of its stock.
SCOTT DEVEAU
The shareholder vote was heralded as a major victory for so-called ESG investing, which focuses on improving corporate environmental, social, and governance metrics. Afterward, Engine No. 1 raised more money from investors, launched an exchange-traded fund with the ticker VOTE, and filed for a second ETF focused on climate issues.

Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Grancio, 49, is driving strategy for Engine No. 1, which now has about $430 million worth of assets under management. A native of Springfield, Mass., with degrees from Stanford University and Columbia Business School, Grancio is a veteran of the fund management industry. She was part of the team that founded the iShares family of ETFs at Barclays Global Investors, now part of BlackRock Inc. Based in San Francisco (Engine No. 1’s name was inspired by the city’s first fire station), Grancio plans to spend some of her time in New York, where the company is building an office in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. She spoke to Bloomberg Markets in September about the Exxon boardroom victory and building a business from her home office. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

SCOTT DEVEAU: What was it like to build a business and wage a boardroom battle with one of the world’s biggest oil giants while working from home during a pandemic?

JENNIFER GRANCIO: Our founding team are definitely the kind of people—and I would put myself in that category—that are tenacious. We do better under pressure. It was intense because we were doing a lot of things at the same time. But we spent time before we launched the firm just establishing foundationally: Who are we? What are we trying to do? What does the goal look like? We went through laying out the groundwork to run a 40 Act [Investment Company Act of 1940-regulated] business. Which is totally different than the groundwork to run a private fund, which is totally different than running a proxy campaign, which is totally different than building effectively a retail consumer-level brand with a clear story. And so—just trying to run multiple pieces and then stay connected—we were on Zoom and Microsoft Teams all day.

SD: You’ve had to fundraise, too. So have you been meeting with investors?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG MARKETSView All

See Which Countries Are Falling Behind On Climate Change

Under the Paris Agreement, 190 countries and the European Union pledged to take steps to hold the global temperature rise to less than 2C (3.6F) from preindustrial levels—and preferably 1.5C.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Billionaires Vie for the Future of Brazilian Finance

An escalating battle between two billionaires is upending the financial community in São Paulo, Latin America’s wealthiest city.

8 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Ford Foundation's Darren Walker: ‘We Have to Get Uncomfortable'

DARREN WALKER, 62, disrupted his Wall Street life more than 25 years ago when he left what is now UBS Group AG to volunteer at a school and eventually pursue a career in community development and philanthropy. Since 2013 he’s been at the pinnacle of the philanthropic world as president of the Ford Foundation, created by the family of automaker Henry Ford during the Great Depression to advance human welfare.

8 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Fueling the Ener Transition

I MAY BE BIASED, but some of the most important research and data on the Bloomberg terminal lies in one of its lesser-known functions: {BNEF }

1 min read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Dig Into Analysts' Estimates for Disruptive Companies

THE PANDEMIC ERA generated a whole wave of disruptive companies as it accelerated the introduction of new products and services in areas including artificial intelligence, digitization, electronic payments, online meeting platforms, and virtual currencies.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Climate Risks Come for Sovereign Credit

FOR YEARS climate scientists have warned about the ferocious wildfires and hurricanes that are now overwhelming many communities. Today alarms are ringing about a related financial danger: risks lurking within government bonds, the biggest part of the global debt market.

7 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Responsible-Investing Pioneer Lydenberg Says ESG Needs An Upgrade

STEVE LYDENBERG’S passion for social change was inspired by anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, consumer boycotts, and the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. But he didn’t take to the streets. Instead, Lydenberg turned to the world of finance to help catalyze societal change.

8 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Engine No. 1's Grancio: ‘People Will Appreciate an Economic Argument'

ENGINE NO. 1 sent shock waves across corporate America in May when the fledgling investment firm won a boardroom battle with Exxon Mobil Corp., securing three seats on the oil and gas giant’s board after purchasing only about $40 million of its stock.

6 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Find Out Which Companies May Ramp Up Payouts After Covid

AS THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED business last year, many companies cut or suspended dividends. Which will boost their payouts when economies pick up again?

2 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021

Get Into the Minds of Central Bankers as They Navigate Shocks

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED how central bankers forecast the impact of shocks on the economy?

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2021
RELATED STORIES

Wind of Change

Public companies are struggling to embrace stakeholder capitalism. Can a new breed of activist investor help?

7 mins read
Fast Company
September 2021

Great Goofs

Laughs and lessons from our readers

2 mins read
Family Handyman
June 2020

The Humbling of Exxon

Years of miscalculation turned a juggernaut into just another middling company. And that was before the pandemic

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 04, 2020

EXXON OUTLINES ITS STEPS TO REDUCE HARMFUL METHANE EMISSIONS

Exxon Mobil outlined how it is reducing the methane its operations release into the atmosphere, detailing its efforts as governments around the globe write new rules to regulate the harmful greenhouse gas.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
March 06, 2020

Shell Is Looking Forward

The fossil-fuel companies expect to not just survive climate change but profit from it.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
March 2–15, 2020

Why Alaskans Can't Get Alaskan Natural Gas

A plan to tap reserves on the far-flung northern coast of Alaska is expected to produce about 80 million tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) over the next 20 years—but thanks to a protectionist shipping law, it’s likely that Americans won’t have access to a single drop.

2 mins read
Reason magazine
February 2020

A Big Step for the Sky Vacuums

Companies are bringing down the cost of a controversial weapon against climate change

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 23, 2019

How To Level The Playing Field Once And For All Guest View

Shiseido Asia-Pacific and ExxonMobil Asia-Pacific recently appointed its first female president and CEO, and chairman and managing director, respectively. In April, OCBC Bank welcomed its first female group CEO — the first woman to head a Singaporean bank. With these recent strides towards women snagging top positions, 2021 is certainly shaping up to be an empowering year for females.

4 mins read
PORTFOLIO Magazine
May 2021

‘Mobil DTETM 20 Ultra delivers next-level performance, a game-changer among hydraulic oils'

Launched first in India, ExxonMobil’s cutting-edge lubricant Mobil DTE™ 20 Ultra Series offers up to 2X oil life and significantly boosts productivity, while reducing equipment failure

4 mins read
ET Polymers
February - March 2021

साथ आईं ओएनजीसी-एक्सॉन

नए ओएएलपी चरण में दोनों कंपनियां लगाएंगी तेल-गैस ब्लॉक के लिए संयुक्त बोली

1 min read
Business Standard - Hindi
October 05, 2020