James W. KinnearMr. James W. Kinnear has established two annual endowed academic stipends known as the Kinnear Professor of Chemistry and the Kinnear Professor of Physics. These stipends provide summer research salary support for up to two faculty members selected from the USNA Chemistry and Physics Departments.
James W. Kinnear, Director and former President and Chief Executive Office of Texaco, Inc., was born in Pittsburgh, PA., on March 21, 1928. He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., and graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree. During the Korean War, Kinnear was awarded seven engagement stars and a Navy Commendation Medal for leading a life-saving detail. In 1954, following his service in the war, Kinnear joined Texaco’s marketing organization and subsequently held sales positions in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Hawaii. He was named Division Sale Manager in Los Angeles in 1963, and was transferred to New York as Assistant to the Vice Chairman the following year. In 1965, he was appointed Assistant of the Chairman and General Manager of the Marine Department.
Kinnear was elected Vice President in charge of Supply and Distribution in 1966 and Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning in 1970. He was named Senior Vice President for Worldwide Refining, Petrochemicals, and Supply and Distribution in 1971, and the following year Kinnear was appointed Senior Vice President for Worldwide Marketing, with responsibilities for the International Marine and Petrochemicals Division. In 1976, Kinnear was given responsibility for coordinating international marine and aviation sales, the Petrochemical Department, the Marine Department and Marketing and Refining in Europe.
In 1977 Kinnear was elected a member of Texaco’s Board of Directors, and in 1978 he was elected Executive Vice President and named to the Board’s Executive Committee. Kinnear was named President of Texaco, U.S.A., located in Houston, TX, in 1982.
Texaco, U.S.A. is involved in all exploration, producing, refining, transportation and marketing in the United States. In October 1986, Kinnear was elected by the Board of Directors to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of Texaco, Inc., effective January 1, 1987.
In April of 1987, Texaco was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a Texas jury ordered the company to pay $10.53 billion to Penzoil Company to settle a dispute involving Texaco’s purchase of Getty Oil Company in January 1984. Texaco settled the dispute for $3 billion on April7, 1988, and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on the same day.
Under Kinnear’s leadership during this time, Texaco underwent a massive restructuring, including asset sales and formation of the Star Enterprise joint venture partnership with Saudi Arabian Oil Company and generating proceeds of more than $7 billion and special dividends of $2 billion. At the same time, Kinnear successfully led the company through a takeover attempt and a proxy fight.
Analysts credit Kinnear with Texaco’s smooth transition form the most tumultuous period in its history to becoming a focused, innovative force and a leading competitor in the petroleum industry. During his six-year tenure as head of the company, Texaco added nearly $2 to th value of its proven reserves for every dollar spent on exploration and development, the best record among the major oil companies during the period, and a major reason for Texaco’s improved stature on Wall Street.
Central to the company’s recovery was Kinnear’s focus on innovation and technology in the oilfields and in the laboratories. In 1992, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Kinnear two patents for his work on an automobile catalytic converted pre-heating system. Kinnear’s invention solved the “cold start” problem by allowing the driver to pre-heat the catalytic converter, eliminating a large amount of pollution that normally occurs in the first minute of engine start-up before the converter is sufficiently heated to perform its function.
After shaping a leaner, more profitable Texaco, Kinnear retired form the company as President and Chief Executive Officer on April 1, 1993.
Kinnear is a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Board of Managers of the New York Botanical Garden. He is a Director of Corning Incorporated, ASARCO Incorporated, the American Petroleum Institute and the Metropolitan Opera Association. He also is a member of the Business Council of New York State and Chairman of its affiliate, the Public Policy Institute, and a member of the Advisory Board of Directorship. Additionally, Kinnear is a member of The Business Council.
Kinnear has received numerous honors and awards, both as an individual and as the CEO of Texaco. In 1990, he accepted the National Medal of Art from President George Bush, honoring Texaco’s half-century of sponsoring radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. On December 3, 1992, Kinnear was honored by government officials, employees and residents of Port Arthur, TX, with “Jim Kinnear Day”. His is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Finance and Industry.