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Chevron top management changes in Richmond

on September 20, 2011

Chevron’s Richmond operation will soon have a change in its top management as General Manager Mike Coyle will leave office in the last week of this month to take a job at corporate headquarters in San Ramon.

Coyle, who has “proudly” been the refinery GM for three years, said he will leave with a single regret: that he couldn’t complete the Renewal Project, which was halted during his time as the refinery chief. The task of passing the project will go to the new general manager, Nigel Hearne, who will take over on September 26.

“I am pretty proud of my successes inside the Chevron office and outside it with the Richmond Community,” Coyle said. “But, I would have wanted to see the Renewal Project continued in my term and not being prolonged.”

The project, intended to upgrade the refinery, replace the facility’s hydrogen plant and build new components to allow the plant to produce purer gasoline, has been stalled since 2009, when environmental groups sued successfully over concerns the project’s environmental impact report was too vague.

“The project would have made the refinery more efficient and helped people by giving them jobs — although all of them, around 1,000, will be on the construction side and thus temporary,” Coyle said. “Now Nigel will have a challenge of bringing it (renewal project) to the next phase and getting the permit for it.”

Coyle, who has been with Chevron for about 30 years in their various refineries and business sections, has served at the Richmond refinery for 11 years. He started as an operations manager in 2000 and said that he had got to know the people and the place well now.

“I will miss working here but we all have to move on,” he said. “I have to get acquainted with other businesses of the company. Nigel will continue to foster these relationships and it wont be much of a change.”

Coyle will move to take the job as vice president of Chevron’s Downstream Strategy group in San Ramon.

The GM position will be Hearne‘s first stint at the Richmond refinery.


  1. Terry R. Galloway, PhD, CTO on October 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I read your article with great interest about Chevron’s view of continuing to work with the Richmond community by introduction of the new Refinery General Manager, Nigel Herne, who has today published his open invitation for our Richmond community to attend the Chevron-hosted 2011 Cleantech Open California Regional Judging and Awards Ceremony on October 6 at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA. For those of us growing new green tech companies in Richmond, Chevron’s presence has always been a strong attraction to companies like ours with Chevron’s large labor force in Richmond for refinery upgrades, funding 29 Chevron Technology Venture companies where ideally most should be brought to Richmond, conducting joint R&D with the University of California, and Chevron’s supporting activities. Chevron’s strong presence has not only been a plus for us but also for many other green-techs as well as programs and spin-offs at the U.C. Richmond Field Station involving both U.C. researchers as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory future campus expansion around the Field Station. There is truly an important synergy between Chevron and the growing and future green tech in Richmond. Since The Cleantech Open has established itself as the leader in developing clean technology startup entrepreneurs, Chevron’s hosting of this event and Nigel Hearne’s open invitation is that much more significant in helping build Richmond’s local businesses and local jobs. Great beginning for the new GM, let’s do more.

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