Executive vice president, ChevronTexaco Corporation, Global Downstream
Born: March 17, 1953, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Education: Penn State University, BS, 1974; completed Columbia University's International Executive Development Program, 1994.
Family: Married; children: three.
Career: Ernst & Young, 1974, accountant; Gulf Oil Corporation, 1977–mid-1980s, various finance-related positions; Chevron Information Technology Company, 1989–1991, finance manager; Chevron Canada, 1993–1996, president; Chevron International Oil Company, 1996–1998, president; Chevron Products Company, 1998–, president; ChevronTexaco Corporation, Global Downstream, executive vice president, 2001–.
Awards: Alumni Fellow Award, Penn State's Smeal College of Business, 2002.
Address: ChevronTexaco Corporation, 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon, California 94583; http://www.chevrontexaco.com.
■ In 2001 Patricia Woertz became an executive vice president at ChevronTexaco Corporation, making her the highest-ranking woman in the male-dominated oil industry. Woertz had entered the oil industry in 1977 and used her excellent cost-cutting and team-building skills to barrel her way to the top. Her performance consistently earned her a spot on Fortune magazine's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business. In 2003 Woertz ranked ninth on that list.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Woertz earned an accounting degree from Penn State University in 1974. That same year, she landed a job as a certified public accountant at an Ernst & Young office in Pittsburgh. Her work as a numbercrunching auditor there helped set the foundation for the rest of her career. At Ernst & Young, Woertz learned to look at the books and see where money was flowing in and where it was not.
Three years later she joined Gulf Oil Corporation, also in Pittsburgh, where she held jobs in finance and strategic planning as well as refining and marketing. In 1981 she left Gulf Oil's Pittsburgh office and transferred to Houston, where she oversaw an audit group. From 1985 to 1987 Woertz was heavily involved in the financial aspects of the merger between Gulf Oil and Chevron. By 1989 she was finance manager of the Chevron Information Technology Company. In 1991 Woertz became strategic planning manager for Chevron Corporation. In this capacity, she worked side by side with the company's planning and management committees, evaluating both their long-term and short-term strategies.
In 1993 Woertz transferred to Vancouver, British Columbia, as president of Chevron Canada, a refining and marketing subsidiary of Chevron Corporation. By 1996 she was president of Chevron International Oil Company and vice president of logistics and trading for Chevron Products Company. These positions put her in charge of the company's supply, distribution, and worldwide trading operations. Chevron leaders took note of Woertz's success and in 1998 named her president of Chevron Products Company, making her the highest-ranking female executive in the company. As president of Chevron Products Company, Woertz oversaw a fuel-refining and marketing operation that included 8,600 employees, eight thousand service stations, and six major refineries. Despite her success, Woertz refused to see herself as a trailblazer. "I've always been gender-blind in my career," she told the San Francisco Chronicle (August 11, 1993).
At the start of the 2000s Woertz weathered another merger, this time between Chevron and Texaco, and in 2001 became an executive vice president for ChevronTexaco Corporation. As such, she was put in charge of the company's worldwide operations in lubricants, refining, marketing, supply, and trading. In this position, Woertz found herself in charge of 26,000 employees in 180 countries employed at 25,000 service stations and 20 refineries, producing 2.2 million barrels of petroleum products daily. The operation was generating more than $80 billion in sales a year.
Running this behemoth of a company was no small task. As some of the company's operating earnings plummeted in 2002, Woertz used her accounting background to identify $100 million in refining savings. She studied operations at both Chevron and Texaco to identify where merging operations would save money. For example, she moved operations for refining inexpensive high-acid crude from a Texaco plant in Wales to a Chevron plant in Cape Town, South Africa. The move saved the company $10 million.
Like the oil her company refined, Woertz herself became a much-sought-after commodity. At times, Woertz fielded three job offers a week from search firms interested in hiring her for other companies. "She exudes leadership," one corporate headhunter told the Wall Street Journal (January 31, 2003). "She's dynamic without being flashy."
She also possessed a hands-on management style. As a leader at ChevronTexaco Corporation, Woertz's plan for profitability was simple—keep the refineries safe and reliable, and profits would follow. To this end, she decided to visit the company's refineries. In the fall of 2002 she visited the El Segundo refinery in Southern California, mixing casually at a barbecue with the mostly male workforce. During this time, Woertz listened to what the workers had to say. "They used to never listen to us guys in coveralls," the plant's head operator, Tony Holmquist, told the Wall Street Journal (January 31, 2003).
Woertz also used the gathering to hit upon the importance of safety, and she asked the workers to ensure there would be no environmental accidents and no emergency shutdowns. She told them if they did that, it would push up the company's stock prices so they could all retire a little earlier.
Industry analysts anticipated that Woertz might one day become chief executive of ChevronTexaco Corporation. Such a promotion would make her the first woman to head a global energy company. In addition to her work duties, Woertz served on the board of directors of the Western States Petroleum Association and the California Chamber of Commerce of Sacramento.
See also entry on ChevronTexaco Corporation in International Directory of Company Histories .
"ChevronTexaco Aims to Boost Downstream Performance," Octane Week , July 22, 2002.
Herrick, Thaddeus, "Refining Chief Vows to Rally ChevronTexaco," Wall Street Journal , January 31, 2003.
Watson, Lloyd, "Chevron Exec Is Industry's Top Female Operating Chief," San Francisco Chronicle , August 11, 1993.
Wilson, Lizette, "Making a Tough Job Look Easy," San Francisco Business Times , April 18, 2003.
"Woertz to Head Chevron Products," Oil Daily , October 30, 1998.