James McManus, Chairman and CEO of Energen Corporation, discussed his company’s strategy on October 11, 2011 with students in the combined undergraduate capstone and MBA class, “Strategic Management: Conversations with CEOs.”
Over 20 years ago, Energen confronted the brutal fact that its then-primary business Alagasco, a public utility which distributes natural gas in Alabama, likely did not offer shareholders the prospect of sustainable growth in earnings. The company embarked on a successful strategic expansion into the oil and natural gas exploration business, which today accounts for approximately 85% of the company’s net income and is among the top 20 oil and gas exploration and production companies in the United States. The company has a market capitalization of over $3 billion.
Mr. McManus, who holds an undergraduate degree in accounting, told students that no one academic discipline is the best way to pursue a leadership position in the business world. “Have a curious mind, and make as many contacts as you can outside your own work area,” advised McManus. Among the positions McManus held after joining Energen in 1986 were director of strategic planning and corporate development and head of the exploration and development business segment in its formative years. McManus became CEO of Energen in 2007 and chairman in 2008.
Mr. McManus is also the current chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the leading organization for the Birmingham region directed at economic development.
Energen Corporation is a generous donor to UAB’s scholarship funds, as well as other parts of the university.
[left to right: Clinton Johnson, Venkat Subramanian, Cody Callahan, Mr. McManus, George Turnley, Taylor Klein]