Exxon Transition Official - Raymond to Become CEO
DALLAS (AP) _ Exxon Corp. president Lee Raymond was named on Wednesday to become chairman and chief executive of the country’s largest energy company this spring, succeeding Lawrence Rawl, who is to retire in May.
The transition had been expected and will likely occur at the company’s annual shareholders meeting April 28, Exxon said in a statement Wednesday.
Rawl led the company through its worst environmental and public relations crisis - the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the largest in U.S. waters - and faced stinging claims that the company’s response was too slow.
He took over as Exxon shortly after the 1986 oil price collapse and finished a series of asset sales and workforce reductions to curb costs.
In 1991, Rawl presided over the company’s most profitable year - $5.6 billion in net income - as refining operations in the Far East and Europe benefited from high margins and oil prices spiked due to the Persian Gulf War.
Rawl, 64, will reach the company’s mandatory retirement age in May.
″It’s about as normal and transitional as any you’re likely to find in American industry today,″ said Bernard Picchi, oil analyst at Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York, noting the recent upheaval in other blue chip boardrooms like American Express, IBM and General Motors.
″The second generation has been in training and in the wings for a very long time,″ he said.
Raymond, 54, became president of Exxon when Rawl reached the chief executive’s office in January 1987. He joined the company as a research engineer in Tulsa, Okla., in 1963.
Charles Sitter, a director and senior vice president, is expected to become president when shareholders meet.
The company’s earnings declined in 1992 to $4.7 billion on slightly lower revenue.
Mobil Corp. on Wednesday appointed a new president, chief operating officer and likely successor to chairman Allen E. Murray, who has to retire when he turns 65 in March 1994.
Lucio A. Noto, 54, was promoted to the No. 2 spot at Mobil from chief financial officer.