Who owns the King Ranch in Texas?
KINGSVILLE, Tex.— The fabled King Ranch, very long a symbol regarding the wide range, power and pride of Texas, is struggling through one of the most difficult eras with its 134-year history.
The vast South Tx ranch, larger than Rhode Island plus the Borough of Brooklyn, and/or size of 982 Central Parks, features laid off or given early pension to more than half of their staff members during the last 2 yrs. The Exxon Corporation power down drilling for oil and gas on the farm last year because of the slump in world oil rates. And the ranch's present try to broaden beyond cattle and oil into shrimp agriculture features proved a costly disappointment up to now.
Last month, the 69-year-old president and ceo of King Ranch Inc., James H. Clement, stepped apart and was replaced because of the administrator vice president, John B. Armstrong, 68. But insiders state it was only a temporary step although the company tries to employ an aggressive outside ''gun'' as its new business manager.
It would be the very first time the 825, 000-acre ranch, the largest in america, had been run by someone apart from a descendant by blood or marriage of Robert King, the steamboat captain who founded the dynasty in 1853, and his son-in-law, Robert Justus Kleberg. The move implies a shift far from a paternalistic, virtually feudal design of management toward one centered on modern entrepreneurial strategies and cost-cutting.
While maybe unavoidable, the changes have actually caused deep pain in South Tx, where work with all the King Ranch had been when for life and also beyond, for children and grandchildren, and where being a ''Kineno, '' or King's guy, was a supply of huge pleasure. In recent months, results of Kinenos happen put-out to pasture or release. Many are descendants of initial Mexican people who have worked the ranch for five years.