Valero CEO Honored

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Valero CEO Honored

HOUSTON -- Bill Greehey guided a small Texas-based oil company into one of the biggest independent refiners and fuel marketers in the country. His hard work has hardly gone unnoticed, and yesterday, the accolades continued as he was selected for induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

Greehey, chairman and CEO at Valero Energy Corp., is one of five Texas businessmen who will be honored by the state's Business Hall of Fame at the foundation's annual dinner Oct. 16.

According to foundation Chairman Del Williams, Greehey was recognized for living out the "American Dream" -- rising from humble beginnings to become the chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Greehey started his career at Price Waterhouse after serving four years in the Air Force and earning a bachelor's degree in business administration from St. Mary's University in San Antonio. He subsequently worked for Exxon as an auditor before joining Coastal States Gas Corp. as an administrator. Six years later, he rose to senior vice president of finance.

In the early 1970s, Coastal's subsidiary, LoVaca Gathering Co., had contracts to supply natural gas to utilities around Texas. When gas came into short supply, LoVaca was unable to honor these contracts so customers sued for billions of dollars. The court appointed Greehey as president and CEO of LoVaca, which was facing bankruptcy. But Greehey turned the company around and reached a $1.6 billion settlement, which included the creation of Valero Energy Corp. in 1980 as a new company. At the time, it was the largest corporate spinoff in U.S. history.

Under Greehey's direction, Valero now boasts more than 1,500 Valero, Ultramar and Diamond Shamrock-branded convenience stores, approximately 22,000 employees and revenues of nearly $30 billion.

ABOVE: Valero Energy Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Greehey.