My family has been intimately involved with Exxon through the years. My great-great-grandfather Maurice Clark went into the provisioning business with John D. Rockefeller around the time of the Civil War, but ended up selling the nascent oil-refining part of the business to Rockefeller in the late 19th century. Years later, my grandmother’s uncle ran Standard Oil of New Jersey, later to become Exxon; and most recently, my father spent his career working for the company in New York, London, and Rome.
Exxon has always been the reflexive place where everybody in the family put their faith and their money. My brother and I grew up drinking out of Esso mugs and wanting foremost to go see the tigers at the zoo because that was Esso’s logo. When somebody forced Esso to change its name to Exxon in the United States, we found it petty. And when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska, we wondered what all the hue and cry was about. Wasn’t it bad enough to lose all that oil and have your boat dinged up?
Our family involvement pa... Read more