Exxon to Move ‘God Pod’ to Houston, Merge Refining and Chemicals

(Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp. will relocate its corporate headquarters to the Houston area from near Dallas and combine its chemical and refining divisions in a major shake-up aimed at reducing costs. 

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The oil giant will be organized along three main business lines: upstream, which produces oil and gas; product solutions, which makes fuels and chemicals; and its low carbon division, the company said in a statement Monday. The changes will take place from April 1, and the headquarters relocation will be complete by mid-2023. 

Exxon has been on an aggressive drive to reduce costs over the past few years and is on track for $6 billion of savings by 2023, compared with 2019 levels, or enough to pay for about 40% of its dividend. The company’s executives have worked out of the famous “God Pod,” a large tree-lined office park in Irving, west of Dallas, for three decades after moving from a skyscraper in Manhattan. 

“Closer collaboration and the new streamlined business model will enable the company to grow shareholder value and position ExxonMobil for success through the energy transition,” CEO Darren Woods said in the statement. 

Exxon’s new headquarters will be in its biggest U.S. office campus in Spring, just north of Houston, which was opened under former Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson in 2014.

While Exxon is one of the S&P 500’s top performers in 2022, it’s been a hard few years for the company. The pandemic forced Woods to pivot away from his $200 billion, seven-year growth strategy towards a low-spending, more capital efficient model after debt ballooned in 2020. The following year, activist investor Engine No. 1 won support from shareholders to replace a quarter of the company’s board after criticizing its financial performance and approach to climate change. 

Exxon rose 0.9% to $75.96 at 12:33 p.m. in New York, with Brent crude advancing 1.3%. The company reports fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. 

(Updates with CEO’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

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