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Vicki Hollub closed the deal yesterday on Anadarko Petroleum, one of the most dramatic business transactions the oil industry has seen in recent years. For months, media organizations have called me to get my personal opinion on this deal and I’ve chosen to stay silent until now.
To understand my view, let’s go back a few decades.
I’m a Generation Xer who grew up in the 1980s when soap operas were popular. There were night-time soaps and the day-time shows. On Friday nights, Dallas, was a hot show about an oilman, J.R. Ewing. J.R,. was played by Larry Hagman, who in real-life died of alcoholism-induced liver disease in 2012. J.R. would notoriously get shot, cheat on his wife, go broke and managed to always get rich again. According to WIKI, J.R. Ewing is considered one of television’s most popular characters, with TV Guide naming him #1 in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time. The ratings for Dallas were through the roof!
And then in the daytime, soap opera character stars with NBC’s Days of Our Lives’ Victor Kirakis and CBS’s The Young and the Restless’ Victor Newman were men who took risks, married former strippers, had affairs and led big shot ventures. Victor Newman, played by Eric Braeden has since garnered widespread praise from critics, who have described him as legendary and “enthralling”. Victor is famously characterized for his power-hungry ways and low-toned voice.
These shows and the plots were just laughable.
I look back and think about how our society embraced these fictitious characters as heroes who made millions in the process. Our media made them famous. And our media has made billions on this form of entertainment. But when a real business woman with experience and a vision sets her eyes on something and takes a risk, she’s lambasted. Wow. We have so far to go. Here’s what I think…
If Vicki Hollub were Victor or J.R., this deal wouldn’t be the drama it has become.
The activism Oxy has been putting up with from bully shareholders and the public is ridiculous. We all read more Chapter 7 and 11 restructurings in the news on energy daily and these companies are led by plenty of “Victors”. Something tells me Vicki’s valiant fight won’t be made into a tv-series. She’s a real hero, though. She’s a warrior, a fighter, and someone who goes for what she believes in. I call that a leader and a role model, one my daughter’s generation needs. And while Vicki and Team Oxy still need to prove that vision, it’s wrong to call it just yet. Give her the chance every man would have been automatically given.
She wanted Anadarko and they persisted.
Now Oxy will show the market and the villains how it’s done.
Note: The opinions expressed herein are my own.