press release

Texaco Press Release - A Better Chance Presents Corporate Recognition Award to Texaco Chairman

NEW YORK, N.Y., JUNE 18, 1999

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 18, 1999 A Better Chance, Inc., the preeminent national resource for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among young people of color, will present the "A Better Chance Corporate Recognition Award" to Texaco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter I. Bijur at its annual luncheon on June 21, 1999. Mr. Bijur is being recognized for his outstanding commitment to diversity at Texaco. Ed Bradley, 60 Minutes co-editor and correspondent, will emcee the gala event at the Waldorf-Astoria.

"A Better Chance recognizes and salutes Peter Bijur for his efforts to guide Texaco toward a new commitment to diversity in its workplace," said A Better Chance President Judith Berry Griffin. "A Better Chance was founded more than 35 years ago to help private preparatory schools diversify their student populations. We are keenly aware of the challenges and commitment it takes to achieve this goal."

Texaco's relationship with A Better Chance began in 1980. Over the years, the company has made several monetary contributions to support the organization's mission to recruit and place academically gifted minority students in prestigious private preparatory schools.

Following the announcement of a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit at Texaco in 1996, Bijur spearheaded an effort to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure fairness and economic opportunity for employees and business partners. The plan, which was not a part of the settlement agreement, was the result of a rigorous review of Texaco's human resources and business partnering programs.

According to Bijur, the plan "set forth comprehensive employment and business partnering initiatives that are well-balanced and beneficial to all our employees and bring us a critical competitive advantage in the constantly changing and increasingly diverse environment in which we operate."

One component of the lawsuit settlement agreement was the creation of an independent Equality and Fairness Task Force. The Task Force was charged with assisting Texaco in creating and implementing a human resources program that would ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all employees and reporting annually on Texaco's progress to the Federal District Court for a five-year period. The Honorable Deval L. Patrick, a partner in the Boston law firm of Day, Berry & Howard and former Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, was appointed Chairman of the Task Force in June 1997.

Patrick, who grew up in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood, was an A Better Chance Scholar. He attended Milton Academy, a prep school in Milton, Mass., and went on to graduate from Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

Under Patrick's leadership, the Task Force made numerous site visits to Texaco locations around the country to meet with employees and evaluate the implementation of human resources programs. In the two progress reports submitted to the Court to date, the Task Force commended Texaco for its efforts in successfully implementing the provisions of the settlement agreement.

Following discussions between Bijur and Patrick, in December 1998, Patrick was elected Vice President and General Counsel of Texaco Inc. After resigning from his role as Task Force Chairman, Patrick joined the company in February 1999.

According to Griffin, "Deval is well respected for his keen insight and integrity. When he told me that he had accepted the position at Texaco, I had no doubt that Peter Bijur deserved a lot of credit for the company's progress."

Upon receiving news of the award, Bijur said, "A Better Chance has been extremely successful in making a difference in the lives of thousands of gifted minority students. I am honored that A Better Chance recognizes my efforts in making a difference at Texaco."

Editor's Note: Established in 1963, A Better Chance is the preeminent national resource for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among young people of color throughout the United States. Through its oldest and largest program, the College Preparatory Schools Program, A Better Chance has placed nearly 10,000 middle and junior high school students in some of the nation's finest college preparatory schools, both public and private. A Better Chance has developed the expertise to measure academic potential far beyond standardized test data and IQ scores, thereby recognizing academically gifted students whom otherwise would be overlooked. More than 99% of A Better Chance's graduates immediately go on to college, a majority entering our country's most selective colleges and universities. Through the strength and quality of their education, A Better Chance graduates have achieved success as elected or appointed officials, educators, journalists, business and professional people; making significant contributions in every walk of life. They are a testament to what talent, paired with opportunity, can achieve in American society.

Headquartered in Boston, A Better Chance is comprised of four regional staff offices and a national network of 4,000 recruitment volunteers. Oprah Winfrey became national spokesperson in 1997

Updated: June 1999