Texaco Press Release - Statement by Peter I. Bijur, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
STATEMENT BY PETER I. BIJUR
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Texaco Inc.
November 6, 1996
RE: Allegations Of Employee Misconduct
Good afternoon. My name is Peter Bijur, and I am chairman and chief executive officer of Texaco. I have a brief statement for you, after which I will take your questions.
You are all aware of alleged misconduct, first reported by the New York Times on Monday, which referred to statements made by several current and former Texaco employees in 1994. As soon as we heard about these allegations, we immediately hired Michael Armstrong as outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation to determine whether the allegations were true.
At the same time, I spoke and wrote to all of Texaco's employees, denouncing the alleged behavior in the strongest possible terms.
Until this morning, we did not have audible versions of the tapes. I have just today listened to them myself. I can tell you that the statements on the tapes arouse a deep sense of shock and anger among all the members of the Texaco family and decent people everywhere.
They are statements that represent attitudes we hoped and wished had long ago disappeared entirely from the landscape of our country -- and certainly from our company.
They are statements that represent a profound contempt not only for the law, not only for Texaco's explicitly clear values and policies, but, even more importantly, for the most fundamental standards of fairness, of mutual respect, and of human decency.
We are now moving quickly to begin righting these wrongs.
The first step in that process is to say, on behalf of all of the people of Texaco, that we believe unequivocally it is utterly reprehensible to deny another human of his or her self-respect and dignity because of race, color, religion or sex.
And it is absolutely deplorable and intolerable to evade the laws of this land.
These beliefs go beyond an understanding of our legal obligations; they are grounded in a recognition of our moral obligations.
Texaco's statement of our core values is very clear. It says, "Each person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity inappropriate work environments without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, disability or position in the company. Each employee has the responsibility to demonstrate respect for others."
Our corporate conduct guidelines are also clear and state that "it is the obligation of all employees to report known or suspected violations of the law or company policies to their supervisor" or other appropriate corporate officials.
These are not empty words. They enunciate the immutable principles to which we adhere... to which every person in our company has agreed... and which must form the basis of every act and utterance of all Texaco people in the course of our duties. Every employee signs our guidelines each year acknowledging that they have read them, understood them, and are in compliance with them.
Our review of the tapes has made it clear to us that these values and policies have been violated.
With regard to the four individuals involved in the allegations before us, two are active employees. They are both being suspended today pending completion of the investigation, which will be accomplished promptly.
As to the two retired employees, we believe there is sufficient cause to withdraw benefits. Pending the outcome of the independent outside investigation, further financial or other penalties may be imposed.
As I told our employees on Monday, my personal commitment is to intensify our efforts to eliminate forever this kind of behavior from our workplace. To that end, I am also announcing the following steps:
One -- senior executives from Texaco will visit every major company location in the U.S. to meet with our people. Their mission will be to apologize to them for the embarrassment and humiliation this has created. We want them to understand both our personal embarrassment and our firm resolve to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again at Texaco.
Two -- we will gather employees together immediately to refocus on our core values and on what we each need to do to create a workplace free of intolerance. It will be a time of reflection and a time for taking personal accountability for actions and attitudes.
Three -- we are expanding our diversity learning experience to include all employees, in addition to our managers and supervisors. This two-day seminar, in which I have already participated, along with the senior officers of the company, focuses on both the intent and the impact of personal behavior on peers, teams and the organization overall.
Four -- we will reemphasize the critical importance of our confidential Ethics Hotline as a vital tool for reporting any behavior -- any behavior -- that violates our core values, policies or the law. Calls may be made anonymously, 24 hours aday, seven days a week. We are extending this service to a broader list of countries outside of the U.S.
Fifth -- I have today asked Judge A. Leon Higgenbotham of the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to work side by side with us to assure that the company's human relationship policies and practices are consistent with the highest standards of respect for the individual and to assure that the company treats all its employees with fundamental fairness.
Judge Higgenbotham is Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Public Service Professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard University. The Judge is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, and the National Human Relations Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He is the author of IN THE MATTER OF COLOR -- Race and the American Legal Process. I am grateful that he will be assisting us.
Sixth -- we are also creating a special committee of our Board of Directors, to be headed by John Brademas, President Emeritus of New York University. This committee will be charged with reviewing our company's diversity programs in their entirety -- at every level within our company.
Fundamentally, we don't believe the statements and actions on the tapes are representative of Texaco; but we also recognize that we have more to learn -- further to go. Our goal is to become a model company in providing opportunities for women and minorities, and in ensuring respect for every individual.
Let me leave you on a personal note, but one in which I know the people of Texaco join me. I want to offer an apology... to our fellow employees who were rightly offended by these statements; to men and women of all races, creeds and religions in this country; and to people throughout America and elsewhere around the world: I am sorry for this incident; I pledge to you that we will do everything in our power to heal the painful wounds that the reckless behavior of those involved have inflicted on all of us; and I look forward to the day we are all striving for when the attitudes in question are consigned to a sorrowful chapter of our past -- and that we have created for our future, within the very soul of Texaco, a company of limitless opportunity and utmost respect for every man and woman amongst us.
Updated: November 1996