The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has recommended climate change expert Donald van der Vaart for election to the board of energy giant Exxon Mobil.

In a September 21 announcement, the government and corporate ethics watchdog said it had sought to have van der Vaart placed on the company’s proxy card with the endorsement of its board of directors in a letter to the company’s three-member board affairs committee. If the committee approves the recommendation, then the board will decide whether to endorse the candidate for a shareholder vote at the 2023 annual meeting.

Dr. van der Vaart has held a variety of prominent roles, including Secretary for the Department of Environmental Quality for the State of North Carolina from 2015 to 2017. He has also held positions as the state’s energy policy director and has served on the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board.

He currently serves as the chief administrative law judge and director of the Office of Administrative Hearings for North Carolina.

The NLPC’s proposal comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s universal proxy rules have recently come into effect, making it easier for dissident shareholders to advance their nominees for proxy contests.

The NLPC statement does not outline whether there is any intention to run a candidate against an existing board member or against the board’s recommendation.

In a statement to Insightia, the center says it’s following the process established by the company regarding directors and board refreshment and it awaits the company’s decision.

“Once we have been informed of Exxon’s decision, we will consider our options at that time,” the statement advised.