press release

Texaco Press Release - Remarks by Peter I. Bijur, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Texaco Inc.


Thank you, Joel, and good morning.

I'm pleased to speak to you today about a subject of genuine concern both to you and to all of us at Texaco. That subject is: "What is the corporate commitment to real diversity?" When I received the invitation to speak here today, I was intrigued not just about the subject, but about its syntax. Framed as it is, in the form of a question, it might be posed as a challenge to corporate America. A challenge not just to be glib about diversity. Not just to try to dazzle our critics with numbers. But to deliver -- and continue delivering -- on a commitment to real diversity. My subject today is Texaco's commitment to real diversity. I'll include a few numbers about what we've done in the past two years to deliver on our commitment to diversity. I'll also talk about some of the programs we've initiated or retooled in our drive to become a more inclusive company. But, above all, what I want to convey to you isn't merely summed up in numbers or programs -- as important as they are. Because a real commitment must be more than a diversity checklist. It must be integrated into a company's business plan. It must guide our strategies for hiring, developing, promoting, and retaining a diverse workforce. And it must extend beyond our corporate boundaries -- not only to our customers and suppliers, but also to the communities in which we live and work.

A tall order? It shouldn't be. Because we believe a commitment to real diversity makes good business sense. It can play a vital role in positioning a company for growth and in enhancing its ability to compete globally. It can attract a talented and diverse workforce, increase productivity, and improve a company's image and reputation among shareholders, consumers, employees and suppliers.

How do I know these things? The way we so often learn them -- the hard way. Luckily, I've had some darn good advice from people like Hugh Price.

Back in the fall of 1996, when Texaco was shaping its comprehensive plan to ensure fairness and equal opportunity, Hugh was one of the first people I sought out for counsel. We had a good, frank conversation back then. And over the past 18 months, we've continued to talk about Texaco's progress - and about how corporations such as ours can make a real and abiding commitment to diversity.

A year ago, in an interview with Fortune Magazine, Hugh talked about the progress Texaco had made, but noted: "the proof will be in the delivery."

How have we delivered since then? The comprehensive plan that we put in place in December 1996 had several key targets. Over the past 18 months, we've made significant progress in meeting or exceeding those targets. Here's a snapshot of some of the numbers involving Texaco's workforce:

  • Last year, minorities and women accounted for 69 percent of all new hires.
  • And in the first six months of this year, minorities and women have accounted for 60 percent of our new hires and 48 percent of the promotions.
  • We have also increased the number of minorities and women in the executive ranks by 20 percent.

It's our hope that a real commitment to diversity will help us attract and retain the very best people possible. Anything less would leave us at a competitive disadvantage.

The make-up of the U.S. population, the characteristics of the global emerging marketplace, and the continuing need for fresh ideas -- all demand diversity if a company is to succeed in the 21st century.

Without dedicated, creative people with fresh ideas and diverse viewpoints, all our properties valued in the billions -- pipelines, service stations, oil and gas wells, and refineries -- would amount to little more than a high-priced collection of lifeless assets.

One of our current challenges is competing for graduates in disciplines such as engineering, math, and science. These are fields in which minorities have been traditionally underrepresented.

We're hoping to build a future talent bank through efforts such as our new "Inroads to the Stars" program. This program encourages aspiring African-American, Native American and Hispanic-American students to major in those underrepresented disciplines on which we'll be drawing so heavily in future years. Interns receive valuable work experience at Texaco and the prospect of future employment offers when they graduate.

Right now at Texaco, we have 67 young minority engineering majors learning about the energy business by working in summer positions throughout our operations.

We have also targeted more than 90 scholarships for women and minorities through organizations such as the national action council for minorities in engineering and the national Hispanic scholarship fund.

We received praise for these programs in the first annual report of the fairness and equality task force, which was created just over a year ago as part of the settlement agreement in the Roberts v. Texaco lawsuit. The task force is charged with advising Texaco in creating and implementing a human resources framework that ensures fairness and equality for all our employees.

Its report stated that "the scholarships and the inroads program are valuable parts of outreach and a source of pride at Texaco, and show promise for expanding diversity in the company."

At the same time that we're focusing on the diversity of our present and future workforce, we're designing programs to make the most of employees' talents by broadening their perspectives and enriching their experience.

For example, we've expanded our diversity learning experience to include all of our U.S. employees. To date, we've trained more than 14,000 Texaco employees in workshop sessions of 20 to 25 people. I've recently gone through one of these workshops with our board of directors. We wanted our board to get a first-hand sense of what the diversity learning experience means to our employees.

What we've learned at Texaco is that a commitment to diversity isn't just something that you simply turn on and off. It's something that has to be worked at every day, by everybody on the management team, and by every employee in our company. And it can't be contained within the corporate fence. A real commitment to diversity must extend to our customers, business partners, and the communities in which we do business.

Broadening our supplier base is a key component of our comprehensive plan to ensure fairness and equal opportunity. In the first 18 months of a five-year plan to spend $1 billion, we have spent $404 million with minority- and women-owned businesses. That's 35 percent over our target for this period.

I'd like to share one success story with you, because I think it points up that increasing our supplier base isn't just a numbers game. That story involves the start-up of Four Star Marine, a new African-American owned marine transport company. Four Star brought its business plan to the attention of Tidewater Inc., Which owns and operates the world's largest fleet of vessels serving the global offshore energy industry. Tidewater then joined forces with Texaco and Whitney Bank to help the company begin operations.

This was a truly collaborative effort. Tidewater invested in Four Star and sold them two vessels, while Texaco signed a four-year contract worth $21 million for future services and Whitney Bank provided financing for the purchase of the boats. We're also promoting minority and women business development by providing scholarships and educational training. One recent scholarship went to the president of Compact Manifolds Inc., A New Orleans based manufacturing company. The recipient gained managerial training at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration of Dartmouth College, which helps minority entrepreneurs to meet the challenges of today's competitive environment.

I said a moment ago that the commitment to diversity must extend beyond the corporate fence. It should touch citizens in all walks of life -- including the youngest and neediest. In the past year, we revised our guidelines for corporate giving to stress the importance of educational programs that help children develop the cognitive skills necessary to do well in math and science.

We're excited about a new program of scientific discovery for New York City schoolchildren and their parents at New York's Museum of Natural History. This program supports the museum's philosophy that parents' participation in the learning experience will stimulate children's appetite for scientific discovery. And we think it will help them toward potential careers in engineering, the physical sciences and geology.

Across the full spectrum of our diversity efforts -- from our philanthropic giving to broadening our supplier base -- we seek to level the playing field by providing greater opportunities for all people.

Within Texaco, my continuing challenge as CEO is to ensure that we create a level playing field for all our employees. How can we hope to achieve this? I think the answer lies in two words: accountability and leadership.

At Texaco, we understand that all of us are accountable for our decisions, our choices, our actions and our behavior. Our managers know that their success is bound up with developing a diverse, world-class workforce. A significant portion of our executives' annual incentive compensation is based on objective measurements of performance related to diversity, safety, and respect for the individual.

It also takes leadership -- leadership from the top and across all levels of the company -- to drive home the message that diversity is vital to Texaco's success.

Just two weeks ago via satellite, I told 6,000 employees in 19 countries that developing a diverse, world-class workforce is one of Texaco's five key strategies -- and that our future success depends on how well each of our employees executes these strategies.

Texaco is delivering on diversity as an integral business strategy because we believe it will help us gain a competitive advantage; because it will broaden our understanding of and response to the global marketplace, and because it is consistent with our core values.

I believe that delivering on diversity will make us a stronger, richer company by every measure -- our profits, our productivity and, most of all, our people.

Thank you.

Updated: August 1998