Richard Kinder, the man behind the energy empire

August 11, 2014, 9:02 PM UTC
Richard Kinder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, addresses the Reuters Energy Summit in Houston
Richard D. Kinder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, addresses the Reuters Energy Summit in Houston June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Richard Carson (UNITED STATES BUSINESS ENERGY) - RTR2474O
Photo: Richard Carson—Reuters

Rich Kinder, the CEO of Kinder Morgan (KMI), is now in charge of the third largest energy company in the U.S., thanks to the $70 billion reorganization announced on Sunday. It’s the second largest energy deal since Exxon bought Mobil back in 1999, making now a better time than ever to take a closer look at the man behind the empire over the years.

Earlier this summer, Fortune profiled Kinder, calling him the “energy boom’s mighty middleman.” Here are some notable quotes from the CEO, who collects a $1 salary and is worth over $9 billion (and growing, after Sunday’s news).

On perks and Enron, sort of:

Kinder spoke in a previous interview with Forbes about how his company flies under the radar, and took a subtle jab at former employer Enron (he left the company in 1996). “We don’t have sports tickets, we don’t have corporate jets,” he said in 2012. “We don’t have stadiums named after us.”

On the energy business:

In a conversation with The Daily Deal in 2001. “We are not a trading company. We are a midstream asset company: pipe, storage and terminals. It’s an unsexy, dirty business. It’s not rocket science.”

On his company’s stock price:

Back in January, Kinder complained that his company was undervalued by the market. “I look out there and I see this huge damn footprint across North America and every time we turn around we see more ability to extract value out of it,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “I guess I haven’t been successful in convincing the rest of the world of that, because a lot of people don’t see it.”

Kinder owned 23% of the company under Kinder Morgan’s previous organization and will own 11% of the restructured company, so it’s no wonder that he has publicly agitated about the firm’s valuation time and again. In 2007, Kinder even spearheaded a buyout effort of Kinder Morgan for $22 billion. Earlier this year, he spoke with Fortune about the disconnect: “It’s just to say as the largest shareholder, it’s very disappointing that the market is not recognizing the value.”

On streamlining his business:

After announcing the restructuring of his company, Kinder discussed the decision in a statement. “This transaction dramatically simplifies the Kinder Morgan story, by transitioning from four separately traded equity securities today to one security going forward, and by eliminating the incentive distribution rights and structural subordination of debt,” he said.

In a Monday morning conference call, Kinder added, “We’re certainly not going to run out and make a lot of silly investments. We’re going to maintain our discipline.”