A Glimpse into Kinder Morgan’s Management Style

Steve Kean, the President and COO of Kinder Morgan, joins the Motley Fool analyst Taylor Muckerman to discuss the energy industry and his company's contribution to it as the largest midstream energy company in North America. The Kinder Morgan family includes Kinder Morgan,  (NYSE: KMI  ) , Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P.  (NYSE: KMP  ) , Kinder Morgan Management, LLC  (NYSE: KMR  ) , and El Paso Pipeline Partners  (NYSE: EPB  ) .

In this video segment Kean describes how Rich Kinder's focus on transparency and attention to detail permeates the culture of the entire company and its commitment to identifying issues, tracking them to closure, and completing them. He says this approach is uniquely suited to Kinder Morgan's own needs, and isn't derived from other companies' experiences. The full version of the interview can be seen here.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Taylor Muckerman: Just one or two questions on Kinder Morgan's management. It's something The Motley Fool believes in very highly. Management is one of the first things that we often look at.

You believe in transparency, both in terms of your financials and your overall health and safety record, so I was just wondering if you could touch on if that started at the very beginning of Kinder Morgan or if it's evolved over time?

Steve Kean: It's been in place a long time. Rich Kinder has set the tone at the top, and spread it throughout the organization, that we are extremely attentive to detail, very attentive to detail. When we go into every Monday meeting, which we do every single Monday, like clockwork, and bring all the business units together, we are updating our Operations, updating Commercial, updating Financial.

When we're updating our Financial, we're updating our current month, we're updating our quarter, and we're updating our year, so if we're sitting here in September we're looking at September, and we're looking at October, November, and December. If a contract didn't renew, or it did renew at a higher rate in December it's showing up, and it's showing up this week. There isn't an opportunity, there isn't a risk that gets a week old without getting acted on.

Part of what that attention to detail enables you to do is to be transparent in what you're presenting to the public, whether that's our safety statistics, which we update for the public every month, or our financial performance and our commercial outlook and our strategy, which we're updating in our annual investor conference, but also in our quarterly calls and any other investor conferences that we do in the interim.

It's that attention to detail that drives our ability to do that, and it drives a number of other things, too; how we manage our business, the attention and focus that we have on our operations and on our safety, when people have to report what's gone wrong, or they have to report exceptions in their compliance activities and things like that. We list them, we track them to closure, and we complete them.

That's really, I think, the hallmark of our culture, that we're able to do that and that drives things like our ability to be transparent with our investors.

Muckerman: Then just to wrap things up, are there any companies or management teams elsewhere -- in not just energy, but in the S&P 500 or just generally in the United States or globally -- that are talked about here at Kinder Morgan, as far as different styles that you try to emulate, or different ideas that you might try to bring in-house, or anything like that?

Kean: Not really. There are many, many very, very respectable and deeply respected management teams out there, and organizations. We think that the thing that has been put together here is well-suited for our business, and the kind of business that we're in.

Again, I'll come to the attention to detail. When you're running a large asset network like this, you need to always have your eye on the ball. You need to have your eye on the ball financially, commercially, and also operationally, so things that work here might not work in those other companies.

I think we find this as we sometimes acquire companies. One of the hardest things that people have to get used to around here is that attention to detail.

We think we've built a good mousetrap for what we specifically do, and it works here. There aren't necessarily a lot of other analogies that we feel like we can comfortably draw on. We just try to do the best job we can with what's in front of us every single day.

Muckerman: That's great, Steve. I really appreciate your time. I think you've provided our readers with some excellent insight into Kinder Morgan and the entire energy industry; what's taking place right now and what they can look forward to in the future.

Kean: All right.

Muckerman: I really appreciate your time.

Kean: Thank you very much.


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