Joe T. McMillan
A Leader and Visionary in a Global Industry
Inducted in 1999
Birmingham native Joe T. McMillan has been the president of Exxon Coal and Minerals Company since June 1, 1997. He demonstrates the kind of vision for and leadership of his organization that comes from knowing the business — its research activities, engineering requirements, and manufacturing and marketing needs. He understands it both here at home and around the globe.
Mr. McMillan, who holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Auburn University, joined Exxon as an engineer in 1958 at its refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1966, a promotion brought him to Exxon USA headquarters in Houston. In the next few years, he carried out diverse duties in the refining, supply, and marketing departments. Appointed the assistant manager of the Western Marketing Region in 1972, he moved to Dallas. From there, he moved up to manager of the Pacific Marketing Region, a Los Angeles post, in 1973. In 1974 Mr. McMillan was made the manager of wholesale fuels in marketing for Exxon USA. He returned to Houston, and in short order was promoted again, to general manager of the Supply Department.
With three years’ experience in that end of the business, Mr. McMillan was again selected for promotion as the senior vice president of
Exxon International. From 1979 to 1982, he served in that role in New York City. He was then named vice president of Esso Europe and was transferred to London. In 1985, by then a seasoned executive, Mr. McMillan was asked to return to Houston as senior vice president of Exxon’s U.S. downstream business. There he was responsible for the engineering work required both in the refineries and in the marketing operation. In the capital-intensive downstream business, Mr. McMillan forged a reputation as an innovator in the use of sound engineering principles to operate the facilities at maximum value and in new capital investments required to improve the business.
The various positions Mr. McMillan occupied brought challenges he met with engineering expertise and energetic leadership. His management responsibilities ranged from engineering to research, marketing to manufacturing, and figured in the company’s operations in Europe, the U.S., and Africa. This experience led to his promotion to executive vice president of Exxon USA in January of 1990 and then to the position of president of Exxon Coal and Minerals in 1997.
Mr. McMillan gives significant time to various professional, community, and charitable organizations. These include the Auburn University Foundation board of directors, the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, and the Senior Advisory Board of the Texas Council on Economic Education. His community service has included a long commitment to the Junior Achievement program at both the regional and national levels. Mr. McMillan is an active participant in the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Mr. McMillan married Billie Carole Little in 1958. They have two children, Linda and Dan.