News Article | 1/30/2010

Irving officials ready to woo Exxon to stay put – if they need to


Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. is studying whether to consolidate its U.S. offices, including the headquarters in Las Colinas.


Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said Friday that the study will continue until 2011, and company officials won’t decide whether to move until the internal study is complete.


Jeffers declined to say whether the study includes the headquarters for the world’s largest publicly traded company, but Chris Wallace, chief executive of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, said he understands that it does.


“We would certainly hate to lose them, and we’re going to do everything we can to communicate that we do want them here in the North Texas region and in Irving,” Wallace said.


He said the chamber has already told Exxon that officials want a chance to offer a retention package if leaving becomes a consideration.


Irving officials are quick to brag about the stable of high-profile and Fortune 500 companies that call the city and its Las Colinas Urban Center home.


They’ve long seen Exxon’s headquarters as a source of pride and a marketing tool in luring other business behemoths.


The company also donates money to many North Texas charities.


Exxon’s Jeffers said the company undertakes such real estate studies periodically, and might choose the status quo.


“As the business changes and evolves you continually look at what your requirements are and make sure they’re appropriate,” he said.


Jeffers said the study doesn’t include XTO Energy, the Fort Worth natural gas producer that Exxon recently agreed to buy. The deal hasn’t yet closed.


Irving Mayor Herbert Gears said he’s not worried about Exxon leaving.


He said big companies like to keep their corporate headquarters and operational hubs separate.


He said Irving’s business-friendly reputation, North Texas setting and proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport make it hard for other cities to compete.


“We think however many ways you study it and look at it, you’re going to come to that conclusion,” he said.


Gears echoed Wallace’s willingness to aggressively woo Exxon if need be. But both men also played down the study.


“You’re talking about the largest public company in the world,” Gears said. “These types of periodic reviews are conducted so they are always understanding and updating their business models for efficiency and effectiveness.”