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Energy Innovators: Ringing in an Age of Enlightenment

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1999

it is about 150 percent. So we have almost doubled the return of any other company.

Do you think it's unique that you don't draw a salary?

Kinder: I haven't done any research, but I don't believe there are any energy companies where the two top managers own 30 percent of the company and are not paying themselves any kind of salary at all. We are going to put ourselves exactly in the same position as the Goldman, Sachs private services client that comes in and buys 5,000 shares. I think that is a powerful message.

You don't want to become, dare I say, Enron?

Kinder: I was there at the creation and I hired Jeff Skilling in August 1990 and started what became Enron Capital & Trade. [Today it] is what I consider the guts of Enron. It is a brilliant operation, but I can tell you we spent hundreds of millions of dollars on systems and in people costs in developing what they have today. It is a brilliant operation, but there are going to be very few winners in that particular field. It requires huge capital in terms of people capital. It is almost like an investment banking company in the energy business. There is a lot of money to be made there, but there is a lot of money to be made by just operating these assets. It is a lot simpler existence and a lot more predictable from where we stand. That is not to disparage Enron at all. It is a great company ¼ but I would put our return against their return any day.

How do power plants fit with your strategy?

Kinder: We are not going to be the major power developer. We will have some power plants in addition to what we have now over the next few years, probably primarily on our own pipelines.

Tell me about the partnership.

Kinder: We are truly partners. I may have the title of CEO, but we think very much alike. We tell all of the people that work in the organization that if you get ahold of one of us, it is just as good as getting hold of two of us.

Where do you see Kinder Morgan in the next 10 years?

Kinder: I see no reason why this can't be a $20 [billion] or $30 billion company in three to five years if the right acquisitions come along, although we are not growing for size sake.

Lynda Clemmons - Wise to the Weather

In creating a billion-dollar derivatives business, she helps other firms manage earnings against Mother Nature's whims.

She claims she has no supernatural powers to control the weather, but to her customers she is seen as wiser than a rain man and more trusted than the local meteorologist.

Lynda Clemmons, one of the youngest executives at Enron ever to hold the title of vice president, has helped create a business that can help a company avoid lower earnings resulting from bad weather.

Her weather derivative business, which was started from scratch