ExxonMobil names former Fox lawyer as next GC

Jeff Taylor will replace Craig Morford, who is retiring at the start of July

An Esso petrol station in Thailand siam.pukkato / Shutterstock.com

Oil giant ExxonMobil has appointed Jeff Taylor as its next general counsel, replacing Craig Morford when he retires at the start of next month.

Taylor joined ExxonMobil in May from Fox Corporation, where he was also GC. At ExxonMobil, he will oversee all legal matters and also serve as secretary.

ExxonMobil is the fourth largest oil and gas company in the world and the largest not backed by a state, according to Statista data. It generated $36bn in profit last year through its brands including Exxon, Mobil and Esso.

Darren Woods, CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, said: “[Taylor] brings the right blend of corporate governance and legal expertise, and I look forward to working with him.” 

Taylor spent just over five years at Fox, roughly three of them as GC having originally joined as chief litigation counsel. Prior to that he spent more than three years as deputy GC and chief litigation counsel at General Motors and five years as GC at defence company Raytheon. He also spent three years as US Attorney for the District of Columbia, the culmination of 15 years spent in public service.

Morford, meantime, exits ExxonMobil after five years, having initially joined as deputy GC. Prior to his arrival he spent almost 11 years as chief legal and compliance officer at Cardinal Health, having previously spent more than two decades in the Department of Justice, including as Acting Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush.

Woods said: “Craig has been a valued member of our corporate leadership team during his time as general counsel, providing his strong legal experience and counsel to advance our strategic priorities. He leaves our company well-positioned for the future, and we thank him for his contributions to ExxonMobil.”

In April, Saudi oil giant Aramco hired former Haleon legal head Bjarne Philip Tellman as its deputy GC to oversee global compliance. Armaco is the world’s largest oil company, generating net income of $121bn in 2023. And in December, BP named legal SVP Michael Sosso as the successor to legal chief Eric Nitcher, who retired at the end of last year following the resignation of CEO Bernard Looney earlier in 2023.

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