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Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson
Chevron shareholders have rejected a proposal to split the roles of chairman and CEO, both currently held by John Watson.

The vote furthers doubt on a long-running campaign by shareholder activists to force major U.S. corporations to separate the two positions, which they say would support greater oversight and transparency.

ExxonMobil rejected a similar proposal last year.

About 81% of the 1.5 billion shares cast at Chevron’s annual meeting in Midland, Texas, voted against the proposal.

According to report, the vote was sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Chevron said the ability to decide for itself whether the roles should be combined is essential in order to stay competitive.

“The board votes every year on keeping the positions together and this year was no different,” Watson said at the meeting.