BlackRock's Governance Mess - Action Center on Race and the Economy

As Blackrock Rushes to Cut Climate Risk,
Lead Director Murry Gerber Doubles Down
on Fossil Fuels

Murry Gerber has served on BlackRock’s board of directors since 2000 – over two decades – and as its Lead Independent Director since 2017. Gerber has extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry. From 1998 to 2011, he helped oversee the Appalachian fracking boom through multiple executive positions with EQT Corporation, earning tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Since 2012, he has served as a director of Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oilfield service corporations, earning millions more. More recently he has proactively and aggressively invested big money in Halliburton stock. Gerber’s entire directorship with Halliburton has overlapped with his directorship at BlackRock, as well as another directorship at U.S. Steel – a corporation with its own ties to fossil fuels.

That BlackRock’s most powerful and longest-serving independent board member has such extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry should raise alarm for shareholders and stakeholders who have pushed the firm to exert its profound influence, as one of the world’s top investors, to tackle our global climate crisis. BlackRock is attempting to navigate the challenges of our climate crisis while its Lead Independent Director personally invests millions in the fossil fuel industry and directs a major corporation whose core business is oil and gas.

Simply put: there is a profound governance breakdown at the heart of Blackrock’s board of directors that robs the board of conflict-free oversight of the company’s many commitments to investors and regulators.

While BlackRock has declared addressing climate change as a priority, many – including even its own former CIO of Sustainable Investing – argue that the firm has not gone nearly far enough. The presence of fossil fuel interests within BlackRock’s core leadership, and conflicts of interests related to these interests, is of vital interest to the company’s shareholders and the global community.