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CM: The thing that’s most disappointing is that the oil business is just, in a sense, another business. You may be in oil, you may be in the lubricating part, you may be in the refining part, or the exploration part, but it’s just a business and it’s just like any other. But for some reason it requires specialized knowledge in many cases, and these people don’t run their companies like a business, they run it [like] some kind of personal fiefdom. I don’t think that is so much so in other industries, and I don’t think the thinking is so hidebound in other industries. I think people are constantly challenging the vested ideas. People are constantly saying, “Let’s do it better.”…My point is that these many other industries have been forced to change a lot. And I found that the oil industry has certain views about the world, certain views about the rights of emerging countries, certain views about the place of energy, and so on, that [aren’t] very leavened by new ideas and competitive ideas. Places like Exxon today are towers of isolated business and philosophic thinking, away from true life.

Somebody once described [former Exxon Mobil chairman] Lee Raymond to me in what I thought were tremendously sophisticated terms. He said he is the kind of man who has a secretary who buys his toothpaste for him. He is insulated from the world.

Energy Tribune Speaks with Charley Maxwell

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