| HOUSTON, March 14
HOUSTON, March 14 U.S. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson, while chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp,
used an alias for emails with employees and board members
because his primary account was jammed with too many messages,
the oil company said on Tuesday.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is
investigating whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public
about climate change, wrote to a judge on Monday accusing Exxon
of not previously disclosing the alias and Tillerson's
climate-change communications through it.
Exxon denied trying to hide anything.
"This was not an alias used to discuss only climate change,"
Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said on Tuesday. "It was an account
used for everyday business by senior executives who needed to
reach" Tillerson, who left the company at the end of 2016 to
become secretary of state.
Tillerson received thousands of emails a day from climate
change activists and others at his regular address -
Rex.W.Tillerson@ExxonMobil.com - and that made it difficult to
parse which messages were important to promptly address Exxon's
business operations, Jeffers said.
Tillerson used the email alias for eight years and sent
thousands of messages. Sixty-four of those sent and received met
the parameters for Schneiderman's climate change subpoena and
were turned over to New York officials, Jeffers said.
The email alias was Wayne.Tracker@ExxonMobil.com. Wayne is
Tillerson's middle name and "Tracker" is likely a reference to
his past involvement in the Boy Scouts of America.
Although Trump has vowed to reverse climate-change steps
taken by former President Barack Obama, Exxon has said it
believes it must address climate change. On Monday, it said:
"ExxonMobil believes the risk of climate change is clear and
Darren Woods, who succeeded Tillerson as Exxon's CEO in
January, does not use an email alias, nor does any other Exxon
employee, Jeffers said.
Use of the email alias was seized upon by environmentalists
on Tuesday, who said it revealed a pattern of deception.
"If they had nothing to hide, than why the secret email
account?" said Jamie Henn of 350.org, an environmental group.
Exxon plans to respond to Schneiderman in a court filing
within the next several days, Jeffers said.
The case is People of the State of New York v
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Exxon Mobil Corporation, New York
State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 451962/2016.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Additional reporting by Karen
Freifeld in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)