Thursday, May 29, 2008

When CEO's Attack!

Yesterday we noted that CEO's hate annual shareholder meetings and that Chevron's yesterday was going to get nasty. Typically, an $18.7 billion annual profit would take some of the sting out of having to face stockholders, but money took a back seat to human rights and the environment.

Most executives, when confronted with shareholder activists would simply bite their tongue and offer a convoluted defense of the company's policies, ensure the audience that progress is being made, and vow to continue working on the problems. After all, in just a few hours the meeting will end and this ordeal won't be repeated for another year.

Chevron boss David O'Reilly clearly is not "most executives."

When one man from Nigeria accused Chevron of being culpable in the 1998 shooting of protestors opposing an offshore oil rig, O'Reilly basically (although he didn't use this word) called him a terrorist, noting that the protestors had seized the platform and held Chevron employees hostage!

When a hairdresser from Ecuador called out O'Reilly for contaminated drinking water associated with an oil field developed in the 1950's by Texaco (which was ultimately acquired by Chevron), O'Reilly didn't give a inch. He dismissed the complaint by pointing out that the oil field in question has been run by the Ecuadorean state oil company, Petroecuador, for 16 years and that any current water problems are the fault of the Ecuadorean government.

David Baker has the full write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle and is well worth the read!

Chevron CEO slams critics at meeting [San Francisco Chronicle]