We mapped out the power structure at Exxon and identified 138 of the oil giant's top employees. Here's our exclusive org chart.
- Exxon faced a difficult 2020. The oil titan saw profit evaporate as oil prices crashed, and it was forced to slash spending and cut jobs.
- Behind those tough decisions is what some employees have referred to as the God Pod, Exxon's executive suite.
- At the top are CEO Darren Woods and three other members of the company's management committee. All four men, who are white, have been with the company for decades.
- We mapped out the executives they oversee in an exclusive org chart and lay out the challenges that lie ahead.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Exxon Mobil, like most large oil companies, faced a number of tough decisions in 2020. After the price of crude collapsed in March and April, the firm slashed capital spending by $10 billion, cut thousands of workers, and said it would write down billions more in assets.
Behind those decisions is what some employees have referred to as the "God Pod" — Exxon's executive wing at the company's headquarters. The name is a reference to the top floors of the office that the group occupies, and it's been used to describe the company's leadership style.
"The executive wing of Exxon Mobil's headquarters outside Dallas is nicknamed the God Pod because orders given by executives there can sometimes be as sharp as thunderbolts," longtime New York Times energy reporter Clifford Krauss wrote in 2017.
At the top is CEO Darren Woods, who's led the company since 2017, along with three other members of Exxon's management committee: Neil Chapman, Andrew Swiger, and Jack Williams. Together, they have an average tenure of nearly 35 years. They oversee Exxon's second tier of executives including vice presidents and division leads.
All four members of the management committee are white men. 18% of Exxon's US executives are minorities, as of 2019, the company says on its website.
This is an interactive chart. Click on an executive to see the employees they oversee.
Are we missing information or do you have a tip about Exxon? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected]
While God Pod is no longer a term that employees throw around, the idea may still be fitting. Three current and former employees we spoke to described the top echelon as all-powerful and untouchable. Loyalty and secrecy are rewarded, they said.
"Senior global management is like divinity: very few have access," a current employee in Exxon's fuels and lubricants division said.
The employees requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. Business Insider has verified their identities. Exxon declined to comment on its leadership.
A test for Exxon's leaders
This year is already proving to be much better than the last for Exxon's top brass. The firm's stock is up about 15%, and investors appear to be warming to the company once again. Yet steep challenges lie ahead.
Morale is still down, for one, some employees say. It took a big hit this summer, said a former employee in the company's refining division, when Exxon said there weren't plans for a layoff and then quietly began cutting staff through the firm's annual performance-review process — and made managers dub more employees poor performers.
When the company finally gave in and announced a big layoff, it was just ahead of the winter holidays.
Read more: Exxon is slashing workers and cutting costs as a hobbled oil market slowly recovers. Here's everything we know.
Meanwhile, activist investors are pressing the company to rein in long-term spending, revise executive pay, and invest in clean energy. Though the firm reacted to investor pressure by announcing new climate-related targets in December, Exxon still falls behind many of its peers in addressing carbon emissions.
Mapping the power structure at Exxon
Exxon's management committee began tinkering with the company's structure before the pandemic struck. They reorganized the firm's downstream division in 2018 and the upstream division in 2019. That year, they also established a new business unit — Global Projects — focused on project development.
When the price of oil crashed, Exxon said those changes helped, but further cuts would be needed.
"I wish I could say we were finished, but we are not," Woods said in an email to employees in October. "We still have some significant headwinds, more work to do and, unfortunately, further reductions are necessary."
Today, Exxon is organized into eight trimmed-down business divisions with a president for each. It's not clear to what extent the company's core structure changed, if at all, in response to the spending and workforce cuts. (Exxon declined to comment on the organization chart we shared.)
We mapped out those divisions, in addition to seven other core areas of the company, from HR to Public and Government Affairs, in the chart above. In total, we counted 138 employees.
The information provided in the graphic above is based on dozens of internal documents, such as organization charts and address books, obtained by Insider, in addition to conversations with current and former employees. The information is current to the best of our knowledge.
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