Rawl Replaces Garvin as Exxon’s Top Executive
NEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon Corp., the world’s largest oil company, will change its leadership Jan. 1 as Lawrence G. Rawl replaces Clifton C. Garvin Jr. as board chairman and chief executive officer, the company announced Wednesday. Garvin, who has held the top post since 1978, will reach Exxon’s mandatory retirement age of 65 in December. He will also resign from the board of directors effective Jan. 1, Exxon said.
Rawl, 57, has been serving as president of the corporation since May 1985. He will be replaced in that office by Lee R. Raymond, a senior vice president and director since 1984, the company said.
Rawl’s accession to Exxon’s top spot came as little surprise, given the company’s tradition that the job usually goes the corporate president when the chairman leaves.
Analysts said Rawl’s extensive background oil and gas exploration indicates that Exxon will pay special attention to these areas in the years ahead.
″You tend to lead from what you know,″ said Sanford Margoshes, an analyst at the Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. securities firm. ″His strength technically is in the search for and development of oil and gas - and that in my mind is the heart of the business.″
″I’ve been told that Rawls is very knowledgable on that end,″ said Rosario Ilacqua, an analyst at the L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin securities firm. ″So I think Exxon might become more venturesome in exploration.″
Some also credit Rawls as an architect of Exxon’s major corporate restructuring in March, saying this might indicate something of the kind of management he prefers.
In that retrenchment, Exxon trimmed its international operations from six divisions into one, among other things, and later cut its staff by more than 6,200 employees.
″Exxon’s management has usually been five-to-10 deep at every meaningful point,″ Ilacqua said. ″My guess is that because of a combination of the economics of the business and his personality, we’ll be seeing a much leaner business than we’ve seen in the past, and probabaly one that’s more aggressive in the oil patch.″
Joining the company in Oklahoma as petroleum engineer in 1952, Rawls held several positions in domestic operations before being named coordinator of planning and evaluation of Exxon USA’s production department in 1963.
After two other management assignments in the East Texas production division, he served as executive assistant to then-Chairman of the Board Michael L. Haider in New York between 1967 and 1969.
Exxon customarily reserves that post for executives being groomed for top positions.
Returning to Exxon USA, the company’s biggest subsidiary, Rawls held several other posts before being named director and vice president of that division in 1972, senior vice president in 1973 and executive vice president in 1976.
Lacking international experience, he was sent to London in 1978, where he served two years as executive vice president and a director of Esso Europe Inc., the regional affiliate for Europe and Africa.
He returned to New York as a senior vice president and director in 1980 and became president in 1985.
Garvin leaves after nearly 40 years with the company.
After acquiring degrees in chemical engineering, he joined Exxon in 1947 at its Baton Rouge, La. refinery, rising to operating superintendent 10 years later.
After other assignments, he was named executive assistant to the president of Exxon in 1964 and later held the same post with the chairman of the board.
In early 1965 he was appointed president of Exxon’s U.S. chemical division, and then of its international chemical division in December the same year.
He was elected to the board of directors in 1968, and was named president of the corporation in 1972.
Raymond came to Exxon in 1963 after completing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.
He has held positions of increasing responsibility with Exxon USA; Creole Petroleum Corp., Exxon’s affiliate in Venezuela before it was nationalized; and Exxon International Co.
He became president of Exxon’s affiliate in Aruba, Lago Oil & Transport Co., in 1976. In 1979 he was named president of Exxon Nuclear Co. Inc..
In 1981 he became president of Exxon Enterprises, Exxon’s diversification investment company, and then in 1983, was named president of Esso Inter- America Inc., a former regional headquarters in charge of oil and gas operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.