Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ExxonMobil CEO Defends High Profits

ExxonMobil CEO and chairman Rex Tillerson defended his company's staggering $11.7 billion in profits for the second quarter, saying that the company's earnings reflected the magnitude of its business operation.

More Photos"I saw someone characterize our profits the other day in terms of $1,400 in profit per second. Well, they also need to understand we paid $4,000 a second in taxes, and we spent $15,000 a second in cost," Tillerson told ABC News' Charles Gibson. "We spend $1 billion a day just running our business. So this is a business where large numbers are just characteristic of it."

ExxonMobil earned the best quarterly profit ever for a corporation, up 14 percent from last year but still below investors' expectations. While Wall Street was slightly disappointed by Exxon's earnings, some Americans were outraged by what they saw as big oil profiting at their expense. Tillerson recognized that consumers are angry about the escalating price of gas.

"I can understand why people are very upset and why they're very worried and concerned about their ability to deal with these high prices," Tillerson said. "It does bother me that much of that is directed at us. Our job is to provide energy, to provide it in a means that is reliable. And we hope we can provide it in a means that's convenient as well to the consumer."

When asked whether he agreed with Phil Gramm, Sen. John McCain's former economic adviser, who labeled America as a "nation of whiners," Tillerson said he empathizes with American consumers.

"I don't think there's any question that if these prices -- $3.50, $4 a gallon for gasoline -- and the follow-through effects on the cost of electricity [are] causing a lot of problems for a lot of Americans. ... Their budgets just are very difficult for them to accommodate this."

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