Processing Magazine

Chevron announces new CEO for 2010

October 1, 2009
Chevron Corp. tapped Vice Chairman John Watson to succeed David O''Reilly as chairman and chief executive officer during a crucial time for the oil major, faced with a global recession. Watson will take the helm of Chevron upon the retirement of O''Reilly at the end of the year, just as the oil major launches a big exploration and drilling program in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and ramps up construction of its massive Gorgon LNG facility in Australia. Chevron also faces a contentious environmental lawsuit in Ecuador, flare-ups in Nigeria and challenges from climate-change legislation around the globe. The naming of a long-time insider at the San Ramon, Calif. component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average signals a desire by the energy giant''s board of directors to go with a known deal-maker with a long history. Named vice chairman of the oil firm in April, Watson, 52, now overseas strategic planning; business development; policy, government and public affairs; major capital projects support; procurement, and corporate compliance. A native of California, Watson rose through the ranks at Chevron to vice president of strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions in 1998, just ahead of a tidal wave of consolidation in the oil and gas business. In 2000, he led the company''s integration effort following the Chevron-Texaco merger and became chief financial officer. While most observers doubt any of the top ten oil majors around the world will merge, acquisitions remain a possibility on a smaller scale to help boost production. O''Reilly, 62, will retire after 41 years with the company, but three years short of the mandatory retirement age for senior executives.