Darren Woods

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Darren W. Woods
At a WEF special meeting in 2024
Born1964 or 1965 (age 58–59)[1]
EducationTexas A&M University (BS)
Northwestern University (MBA)
18th President of ExxonMobil
Assumed office
January 1, 2016
Preceded byRex W. Tillerson
16th Chairman of ExxonMobil
Assumed office
January 1, 2017
Preceded byRex W. Tillerson

Darren W. Woods (born 1964/65) is an American businessman who is the chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of ExxonMobil since January 1, 2017.[2] His salary exceeds $20,000,000 per year.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Woods was born in Wichita, Kansas. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, followed by an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.[4][5]



Woods joined Exxon in 1992. He had worked for Exxon for 24 years prior to being promoted to CEO following Rex Tillerson's nomination by President Donald Trump to be the next United States Secretary of State.[2][6] While his predecessor was involved in deal making and exploration, Woods is a veteran of the refining side of the oil business.[7] Prior to becoming CEO, Woods ran the refining and chemical divisions of the company, which delivered the majority of ExxonMobil's $7.8 billion net income in 2016.[8]

At an investor meeting in New York in 2017, Woods outlined his growth plan including drilling in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico and the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. He also spoke briefly about the company's operations in Russia, expressing an optimistic outlook regarding Exxon's Sakhalin project on Russia's eastern coast.[7]

Woods has said that the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has "shattered the Peak Oil myth".[8] Woods has publicly endorsed the Paris climate accord. The accord commits nations to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.[9] In May 2017, Woods wrote a personal letter to President Trump to urge that the U.S. remain a party to the agreement. He says that by remaining a party to the accords the U.S. will have a seat at the table to "ensure a level playing field" and support "the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction options".[10]

On October 5, 2020, Bloomberg News reported that Exxon was set to increase its annual carbon emissions by about 17%, or about as much as the annual output of Greece. The emissions expansion would be built off an investment plan reportedly signed off by Woods. Exxon said its internal projections are "a preliminary, internal assessment of estimated cumulative emission growth through 2025 and did not include the [additional] mitigation and abatement measures that would have been evaluated in the planning process. Furthermore, the projections identified in the leaked documents have significantly changed, a fact that was not fully explained or prominently featured in the article."[11]

In 2022, Woods was named one of the US' top "climate villains" by The Guardian after "Exxon lobbyists were captured on video revealing the company's efforts to obstruct climate legislation in Congress."[12]

Woods discussed in an interview with CNBC journalist David Faber in June 2022 that part of ExxonMobil's long-term strategy to remain a profitable company while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and plastic pollution was to invest in carbon capture and storage technology with a network hub in Houston and to remain a plastics producer while making changes to waste management.[13][14] Woods also called for a higher carbon price.[15] In April 2024, Woods stated on the company quarterly earnings call that while the company was continuing to develop direct air capture (DAC) technology, DAC was currently unaffordable at $600 to $1,000 per ton of carbon dioxide removal and needed to be brought down to $100 per ton to be globally scalable.[16]

On December 8, 2023, Woods attended the Chemical Marketing & Economics gala in New York City, to be honored with a "STEM leadership award" for "harnessing the transformative power of chemistry to advance humanity".[17] Because of his role in increasing oil and gas consumption, a group of climate activists disrupted and brought an end to the gala. They carried a banner that notably read "Eat shit Darren".[18]

Accusation of lying to Congress[edit]

In 2021, Woods denied that Exxon had covered up its own research about Big Oil's contribution to the climate crisis. The chair of the Congressional committee taking Woods' testimony likened Woods' denial to the decades' long lies by the American tobacco industry denying that nicotine is addictive.[19] Woods also declined to make a pledge to stop lobbying against climate initiatives.[19]


  1. ^ "Darren W. Woods: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Bloomberg News.
  2. ^ a b "Darren W. Woods : ExxonMobil". Archived from the original on July 18, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Westervelt, Amy; Wright, Georgia; Olenick, Liat (October 27, 2021). "The dirty dozen: meet America's top climate villains". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved July 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Krauss, Clifford (December 14, 2016). "Exxon Mobil Taps Darren Woods to Replace Rex Tillerson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "ExxonMobil (XOM) Names Darren Woods Chairman, CEO". StreetInsider.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Steele, Anne (December 14, 2016). "Exxon Mobil Taps Darren Woods to Replace Rex Tillerson as CEO". Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ a b "Exxon CEO Darren Woods steps out of Tillerson's shadow - CBS News". CBS News. March 6, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Helman, Christopher. "Exxon Exclusive: New CEO Opens Up On Russia, Climate Change, And The Permian Boom". Forbes. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Krauss, Clifford (March 1, 2017). "Darren Woods, Exxon's New Chief, Begins to Make His Mark". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "Exxon chief urges Trump to back climate agreement". Financial Times. May 26, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  11. ^ "Exxon's Plan for Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed in Leaked Documents". Bloomberg News. October 5, 2020. Archived from the original on October 5, 2020. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "The dirty dozen: meet America's top climate villains". the Guardian. October 27, 2021. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  13. ^ Woods, Darren (June 24, 2022). "How Exxon Mobil plans to meet the energy transition: Extended Interview with CEO Darren Woods" (Interview). Interviewed by David Faber. CNBC. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  14. ^ Winograd, Amanda (June 23, 2022). "Exxon Mobil is at a crossroads as climate crisis spurs clean energy transition". CNBC. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  15. ^ Jacobson, Lindsey (June 24, 2022). "Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods calls for a higher price on carbon". CNBC. Retrieved May 26, 2024.
  16. ^ Kimball, Spencer (April 26, 2024). "Exxon is working on tech to remove CO2 from atmosphere but a breakthrough is needed to slash costs". CNBC. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  17. ^ "2023 CME STEM Leadership Awards". YouTube. December 8, 2023. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  18. ^ "Climate activists disrupt event honouring Exxon CEO Darren Woods". YouTube. December 11, 2023. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Exxon CEO accused of lying about climate science to congressional panel". The Guardian. October 28, 2021. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
Business positions
Preceded by Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil
Succeeded by