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Tenneco | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Tenneco
Variant Name: Tenneco Inc.; Tennessee Gas; Tenneco Gas; Tenneco Oil Company; Tenneco Shale Oil Company

Historical Note:

Tennessee Gas (later Tenneco) and its Tennessee pipeline were elements of one of the largest diversified companies in the world.  Wade Thompson founded Tenneco Gas shortly after the discovery of natural gas in 1933 in Macon County, Tennessee.  In 1943 Henry Gardiner Symonds became the first president of the newly established Tennessee Gas Transmission Company (renamed Tenneco in 1966) in Houston.

A significant aspect of this collection of Tenneco records is the management and planning documents, notes, and speeches accumulated by Joe B. Foster, who held positions with Tenneco for thirty-one years.   Among his roles with Tenneco, Foster served as chairman of Tenneco Oil Company, executive vice president of Tenneco Inc., and chairman of Tenneco Gas Pipeline Group.  Foster left Tenneco in 1988

Foster graduated from Texas A&M University in 1957 with a B.S. in petroleum engineering and B.B.A. in business administration; he joined Tenneco as a junior petroleum engineer in Oklahoma City the same year.  In 1968, Foster became Chief of Planning and Economic Analysis for Tenneco Oil Exploration and Production in Houston and assumed the role of president of Tenneco Oil in 1978.  When the Tenneco board divested Tenneco Oil in 1988, Foster retired and founded the Newfield Exploration Company, serving as its chief executive officer until 2000.

Foster’s personal notes, speeches, presentations, and his contributions to the development of a history of Tenneco reveal his keen interest in planning and his personal ruminations on the processes of management.  His speech development notes and collected sources and the subsequent speeches Foster delivered to Tenneco management groups, professional conferences, and non-profit gatherings offer insight into multiple responsibilities of leadership.

Sources: Tenneco Energy History Records
Note Author: Teresa (Terry) Tomkins-Walsh, Ph.D.

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