The Maguire Energy Institute at SMU Cox School of Business honored Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., with the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award at a luncheon ceremony on Thursday, 14 January 14, at the Cox School's Collins Center.
The Energy Leadership Award committee selected Tillerson, who has helped steer ExxonMobil through four decades of dynamic growth, as this year's honoree because he represents the spirit of entrepreneurship, ethical leadership and energy industry innovation personified by L. Frank Pitts, the late oilman for whom the energy award is named. Proceeds from the awards luncheon will support both the Maguire Energy Institute and scholarships for students seeking to pursue energy industry careers.
"The Institute is proud to honor Rex Tillerson with this prestigious award," said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute. "As CEO of the largest publicly-traded oil company in the world, Rex has been a transformative leader for our industry and for ExxonMobil. His efforts since taking the helm at ExxonMobil in 2006 serve as a benchmark for this industry in how to operate a company with integrity, deliver outstanding returns to shareholders no matter the price environment, and push the envelope of new technologies for the future."
A native of Wichita Falls, Tillerson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 1975. After working as a production engineer with Exxon Company USA, he became general manager of the company's central production division in 1989, where he was responsible for oil and gas production operations throughout a large portion of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. He was named production advisor to Exxon Corp. in 1992.
Tillerson later served as vice president of Exxon Yemen, Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat, Inc. In 1998, he became vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS), Inc. and president of Exxon Neftegas Ltd., where he was responsible for Exxon's holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea, and the Sakhalin I consortium operation offshore Sakhalin Island, Russia. In 1999, Tillerson became executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Co. and was named senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp. in 2001. He was elected president of the corporation and a member of the board of directors in 2004, and assumed his current position in 2006.
Beyond ExxonMobil, Tillerson also impacts the industry through his service as a member of the executive committee and former chair of the American Petroleum Institute, and as a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He serves as a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a member of the National Petroleum Council. Tillerson is a member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council, an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding and is also a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013.
His community service extends beyond the energy industry as the vice chair of the Ford's Theatre Society, a past national president of the Boy Scouts of America and a former director of the United Negro College Fund. Tillerson is a member of the Chancellor's Council, Development Board and the Engineering Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Austin, which named him as a distinguished alumnus in 2007. Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts honored Tillerson with an honorary doctorate engineering degree in 2011.
Tillerson is the sixth recipient of the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award. The first award was presented in 2010 to Ray L. Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Oil Co. and chairman, CEO and president of Hunt Consolidated, Inc. The 2011 recipient was J. Larry Nichols, now retired co-founder and executive chairman of Devon Energy Corp. Mark Papa, now retired chairman and CEO of EOG Resources, Inc., received the award in 2012. Scott Sheffield, chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources Co., was the 2013 honoree. In December 2014, the Pitts Award was presented to David Miller, co-founder and managing partner of EnCap Investments, L.P.
The L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award was created in 2010 to honor the legacy of Texas oilman and independent oil and natural gas producer L. Frank Pitts, who participated in the drilling of more than 3000 wells over almost seven decades. The late oilman served as a member of the Maguire Energy Institute Advisory Board. Pitts' daughter, Linda Pitts Custard, is a former member of the SMU Board of Trustees and an alumna of SMU Cox, and she serves on the Award Event Committee for the Pitts Energy Leadership Award Luncheon.
The annual Pitts Energy Leadership Award event serves as a fundraiser to support the Maguire Energy Institute, named in honor of oilman and co-founder Cary M. Maguire, as well as MBA and BBA scholarships for students with degree concentrations in energy. A portion of the proceeds raised by this year's event will help support the educational goals of Omaha, Nebraska native Charles Landen, who will complete his BBA in Finance with a concentration in Energy Finance in May and Chase Garrett, of Dallas, who will complete his MBA in Energy Finance, also in May.