ConocoPhillips Appoints Professor to Board Amid Diversity Criticism

ConocoPhillips on Tuesday said it had named a Harvard law school professor as an outside member of its board of directors.

The appointment of Jody Freeman follows criticism the company received at its May 9 shareholders' meeting that its board of directors was all-male.

Freeman will become the 10th member of its board of directors. Freeman, 48, is the Archibald Cox Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and is the founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy Program.

Freeman previously served as counselor for energy and climate change in the White House in 2009-2010. After leaving the administration, she served as an independent consultant to the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

"Our company is strongly committed to the highest standards for health, safety and environmental stewardship," said ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance in a statement. "Jody's presence on the board will add a unique and valuable perspective, and help to advance our commitment to operational excellence around the world."

Lance had told shareholders in May that the company intended to add additional board members, with diversity serving as a factor in appointing new members.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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Mike Sterling | Jul. 12, 2012
Once again we are seeing gender hiring to appease the diversity crowd, during my life I have seen many changes, this is another nail in the coffin for the Oil Industry

Chase | Jul. 12, 2012
Nonsense I tell you! Nonsense! JP is spot on.

Chase | Jul. 11, 2012
Diversity is NONSENSE! Look past gender. Look past race. HIRE THE MAN/WOMAN THAT IS THE BEST FIT FOR THE JOB. Done deal.

JP | Jul. 11, 2012
The world just will not let go of racism or this diversity thing. People are appointed as qualified individuals come along. When you start "hiring" someone because of what they are instead of what they can do, you get exactly what you hired.

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