If only we could see ourselves as Stanford Research sees us. If we could, then Shell Oil Corporation and its 50-story headquarters might be sitting in downtown Dallas instead of downtown Houston.
In late 1970, Shell decided to abandon its New York City headquarters, and commissioned Stanford Research Institute to profile several potential new homes. Among the finalists was Dallas.
In a top secret report, Stanford evaluated Dallas in a number of areas, not the least of which was the city’s tightly-knit leadership (see page 47). Stanford concluded that Dallas leadership was too closed- outsiders like Shell probably wouldn’t be readily welcomed to the club. In fear of offending the Dallas business community, Shell never released the study and allowed only its own top executives to see it.
Shell moved to Houston in the spring of 1971, and since has become a good corporate citizen, up-ping last year’s $5,800 local fine arts contribution to $16,000 for 1974.