Chevron: The Bay Area’s Biggest Company

Research for the “Who’s Behind the Bay Area’s Most Powerful Companies?” project is now in full swing.  last week, I sifted through hundreds of Chevron-related press releases, financial documents, and executive board summaries in order to pull together the profiles highlighted below.

Note: I have made a special effort to call attention to Chevron executives and affiliates with specific involvement in Bay Area organizations, corporations, committees, and educational systems.

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Executive Team

David J O’Reilly: Appointed the chairman and CEO of Chevron in 2000, O’Reilly has been an employee of Chevron for nearly 40 years. Before becoming CEO, O’Reilley worked as Vice-Prsident of the Chevron Chemical Company, Director of Chevron-Texaco, and Director of Caltex. O’Reilly is a director of the American Petroleum Institute, a member of the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors, and the Bay Area Council.

Charles A. James: Joined Chevron in 2002 after serving as assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously, he was an employee of the Federal Trade Commission and a partner with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington.  James also serves as a Trustee on the board of the San Francisco Ballet.

John S Watson: elected Vice Chairman of Chevron’s board in April, Watson oversaw the Chevron-Texaco merger in 2000, becoming Chevron-Texaco’s CFO.  Watson is also director of the American Petroleum Institute.  He holds a degree in agriculural economics from the University of Calofirnia Davis and is a director of the San Diego Padres.

Peter J. Robertson: Recently retired from Chevron’s executive board, Robertson is also co-chairman of the US- Saudi Arabian Business Council. In terms of local involvement, Robertson is the director of the Bay Area division of United Way of America, an organization dedicated to improving childhood literacy and community improvement.

Patricia A Woertz: Despite recently retiring from Chevron, Woertz worked for Chevron and its subsidiaries for nearly 30 years, including Gulf Oil, Chevron International, Chevron Canada, and Chevron Texaco.  Previously, she worked as an accountant for Ernst & Young, a Big Four accounting firm.  Woertz is also a regular member of the Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in America list.  She sits on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees of the University of San Diego, and has addressed the Women in Leadership Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

Patricia E. Yarrington: became Vice-President and a Treasurer of Chevron on January 1st, 2009.  Yarrington is also a member of the San Francisco Economic Advisory Council, where she serves as a director and advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Yarrington is also a Bay Area resident.

Noteworthy Lobbyists:

Mel Assagai: In addition to lobbying on behalf of Chevron, Assagai is the chief lobbyist and senior executive for governmental affairs for the State Bar of California, as well as the press secretary to California Senate President (pro Tempore) David Roberti.

Wayne Berman: This guy is truly a lobbyist who has done at all, as you can see from his McLobbyist profile.  Berman served as a Chevron lobbyist through Ogilvy Government Relations, a firm that has lobbied just about every government department in existence.  Berman’s wife, Lea, was chief of staff to Lynne Cheney, and both supported the defense funds of Lewis Libby and Tom DeLay.

Interesting Facts:

  • In 2007-08, Chevron was the 3rd largest contributor to the California Republican Party in the state, donating at least $700,000.

Noteworthy Government Contracts

  • 2009-04-22: $1.2 million Dept. of Agriculture contract for research and development.
  • 2009-02-26: $602,216 Dept. of Defense contract for “Fuels, lubricants, oils and waxes”.
  • 2009-01-27: $340,000 Dept. of Energy contract for strategic relocation of energy reserves.
  • 2009-02-04: $333,607 Dept. of Defense contract for “Professional, admin, and management support services”. (Pricey!)
  • 2008-11-06: $333,607 Dept. of Defense contract for the same purpose. (Source:

More Ties to Research:

  • Who are the key players at Waggener Edstrom, a PR firm of Chevron?
  • Who were the recipients of a $1.7 million dollar lobbying transaction between the Bay Area Ogilvy Government Relations and Chevron?
  • William Wicker, a former executive of Texaco, is currently the head of the Goldman Sachs China investment bank.  How many more ties does Chevron have to Goldman Sachs?