So You Want to Be Chairman of Exxon?

Or maybe you don’t.

In May of this year Woody Dinstel sat down at his desk in Houston to write a letter. First he looked at the watch. It was a gold Hamilton Masterpiece, slim and heavy. On the back was engraved WOODY DINSTEL UPON RETIREMENT FEBRUARY 1, 1978, EXXON.

He was writing to Dr. Tom Barrow, senior vice president of Exxon Corporation in New York, the highest-ranking geologist in the company and a hero to the older generation of explorationists, an emblem of the best in the company. Dinstel had once made a presentation to Barrow in England and had been very impressed; he thought perhaps Barrow might remember him.

The letter was an appeal for help, for Dinstel was having some serious problems with the company. It had been his plan to take early retirement from Exxon—to receive a pension of $611.13 a month and perhaps in a few years to move to the country house

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