Texaco Unveils Plan to Rectify Racial Bias

Texaco Inc.'s new racial-diversity program, unveiled yesterday, serves as an example for other corporations to follow.

"It is further evidence that other companies will have to take these issues seriously, and that the old way of doing business ... will no longer be acceptable," says attorney Cyrus Mehri, whose firm represented six employees who sued the White Plains, N.Y., oil giant for racial discrimination.

The plan comes one month after Texaco settled the suit for a record $176.1 million. It sets goals for the year 2000 and calls for Texaco to:

*Increase the percentage of minorities on its payroll from 23 percent to 29 percent.

*Increase the number of blacks among Texaco's 2,000-person management team from 4 percent to 6.6 percent.

*Reward managers for hiring and promoting women and minorities. Between 20 and 25 percent of managers' grades in performance reviews will depend on success in that area.

*Boost spending on contracts with companies owned by women and minorities from $135 million to $200 million a year.

*Increase the number of black-owned Texaco franchises by helping African-Americans secure loans, and expand minority management of the firm's $1.4 billion pension fund.

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