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Exxon exodus turns floating ‘cube’ into Internet meme By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Exxon Mobil is seen at Spring, Texas (USA), April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder/File Photograph


Gary McWilliams

HOUSTON, (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil (NYSE: ) America’s campus trophy is now an Internet hit.

This visually striking complex is often compared with Apple’s (NASDAQ)’s Ring and Alphabet’s Googleplex Campuses. It was built in 2014, when Exxon was at the top of the world oil market. Its central feature is a huge cube which seems to rise above the research and office.

Exxon’s financial collapse and a wrenching employee exodus have made the cube their emblem. Images of Exxon employees standing before the cube on their final day at work were posted on social media by hundreds of people.

Tens of thousands of people left last year after a staggering $22.4 million loss. The goal is to reduce costs by 14,000 jobs this year. In addition, the job review for the year has seen voluntary and compulsory departures.

Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton said that you should “research social media to find people excited about joining ExxonMobil”. He said that restructuring cuts were completed in December, and that any openings this year as a result of performance-related dismissals could be filled.

Auld Lang Symphony

Jason Crawford, a former Exxon finance supervisor who made his post three weeks back, said that the picture “will always remind me how positive experiences I had.” After concluding that Exxon’s top management wasn’t ready for the challenges ahead, he resigned.

Exxon designed the cube to show off its engineering and technological prowess. It is a feat of engineering and floats above the campus’ 385 acres.

It was officially called Exxon Energy Center and opened in 2014. This came at an era when Exxon was the top global oil and natural gas company. Exxon was worth about half a billion dollars and oil was being sold at $100 per barrel.

This building was originally a symbol for Exxon’s high tech ambitions and attracted talented engineers to the high-tech sector. You will find walking routes that wind through the campus as well restaurants, a fitness center with trainers and other science labs.


Avery Smith posted his picture in front of the cube early this year. The 26-year-old data scientist worked at Exxon Mobil Research & Engineering and left last January to start Snow Data Science.

Exxon’s “rigid culture” limited his options and made him unhappy about the work-from-home limitations. Smith stated that he felt trapped and wanted to work on bigger projects. He decided to start his own business.

Smith said that the cube is representative of company best. Smith was among others to post their cube portraits.

Margaret Webb wrote that she was “challenged to work alongside people all around the globe” and had assignments “resolving some of the most pressing problems facing the planet today.”

Webb left Exxon in February, “before this trend was popular,” but she felt the need to include hers recently after witnessing hundreds of them from colleagues.

“The most important thing that I have learned is that engineers must consider ethical, environmental and social impacts in their work.” she wrote.


Now, goodbyes from Texas include Cube reference. Exxon Calgary scientist, Alberta, made a Cube model from Legos to send his farewell image. For his goodbye image, a Buenos Aires finance supervisor used a photograph from a previous visit.

Krishnan Kumaran (55), who took an early retirement last month after spending 18 years with the company, lamented that he didn’t have the usual energy cube image. The picture of his Exxon building, in pastoral Clinton New Jersey where he had worked as a computational science scientist was part of his farewell.