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  Chevron Announces Change in Leadership at Richmond Refinery
June 5, 2013

Chevron announces change in leadership at Richmond refinery
By Robert Rogers
Contra Costa Times
Posted:   06/05/2013 12:17:19 PM PDT
Updated:   06/05/2013 04:34:09 PM PDT
RICHMOND -- Chevron Corp. announced Wednesday a change in leadership at its massive Richmond refinery.
Nigel Hearne, the general manager since September 2011, is "taking another leadership position" within the corporation and will be replaced by Kory Judd, Chevron announced via Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday morning.
"Kory is committed to partnering with the city of Richmond and the surrounding area to help achieve success for Richmond, the refinery and the business community," Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said in an email statement.
Judd has worked for Chevron for 27 years, and at the Richmond refinery for the past eight years, most recently as the assistant general manager.
Nigel Hearne
Nigel Hearne (Jane Tyska/Staff file)
The change in leadership comes as Chevron faces mounting troubles stemming from last summer's fire at its refinery that sent more than 15,000 people to area hospitals. Multiple investigations have concluded that the refinery's negligence in maintaining old pipes in its crude unit led to the fire, and the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued its largest ever fines against the refinery.
The move ends Hearne's brief reign at short of two years. Hearne, a United Kingdom citizen, plunged into the job with talk about building better community relationships and infusing the refinery with a culture of community service.
Philanthropic efforts, especially those aimed toward science and math education in area schools, were beefed up under Hearne, but much of the goodwill was tarnished by the Aug. 6 fire.
At a town-hall meeting a day after the fire, Hearne was drowned out by boos and heckles as he apologized for the fire. Later, Hearne was escorted out the back of the Richmond Memorial Auditorium as angry protesters screamed.
"I don't have a clue about how he was at running the refinery," Councilman Tom Butt said. "But he was a nice guy, a personable guy, and he was initially well-received in Richmond. I hope the next guy is equally as personable as Nigel was."
Butt said Hearne handled the crisis in a novel way.
"He did some things I never saw anybody do at Chevron before," Butt said. "He took responsibility and apologized to the community."
In a Wednesday morning email to the City Council, Hearne said he "enjoyed working with you," and implied that the change in leadership has been in the works for some time.
" ... Kory has worked at the refinery over the last six months to ensure there will be a smooth transition in leadership, and I have every confidence you will find he is a pleasure to work with and is committed to continuing to engage with the community and the city," Hearne wrote.
In an open letter addressed to "community members," Judd praised his predecessor's work and vowed to improve safety and build on local partnerships.
"We are continuing to ... look for opportunities to use local businesses and develop specific programs to help companies do business with us," Judd wrote. "We are also planning to increase local hiring in Richmond by 50 percent in the next five years."
The 2,900-acre shoreline refinery employs about 1,200 workers and is by far the city's largest taxpayer. Chevron has never divulged how many of its workers are Richmond residents, citing privacy concerns, but critics allege the number is less than 10 percent.
Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com and follow Twitter.com/roberthorgers

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