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Exxon Chairman Retiring

Raymond leaves oil giant at the top of its game

NEW YORK -- Helped by record oil prices, Lee Raymond, the chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, will leave the company at the end of the year in the best financial and operating condition it has ever been in, according to a report in The New York Times.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, announced on Aug. 4 that Raymond would retire after 12 years of steering the company ahead of its rivals. He will be succeeded by Rex Tillerson, 53, now the president and a longtime insider who recently emerged as the heir apparent. Raymond, 66, [image-nocss] has spent 42 years at Exxon.

Raymond is known for his direct, sometimes abrasive, style and his limited tolerance for analysts, investors or journalists, said the Times report. In some ways, he is an old-fashioned oilman in an industry that has become more diverse, more international and more urbane.

But the company's shareholders have had little to complain about, given the company's staggering profit, record dividends and stock performance. Last year, Exxon Mobil posted profit of $25 billion on sales of $291 billionmore than the gross domestic product of Austria or Saudi Arabia. This year, the company is on track for an even better performance.

At the company's board of directors' request, Raymond stayed past 2003, the year he reached the company's retirement age of 65, to oversee the merged operations and pick a successor. His successor, Tillerson, was born in Texas. He joined Exxon in 1975 as a production engineer.

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