Keith E. Bailey
2008 Outstanding Business Leader
Keith Bailey's keen business instincts are matched only by his deep belief that quality education is key to sustaining a thriving, successful society. For years, he has given his time and talent to a number of higher education boards and is involved in a range of community organizations and charitable services.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Bailey grew up feeling as at home on the basketball court and gridiron as he did in the classroom. He majored in mechanical engineering at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. While lettering all four years in both football and basketball, Bailey earned a bachelor of science degree and graduated in 1964.
He launched his career with Continental Pipe Line Company where he held various positions and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming manager of the company's eastern operations. In 1973, the Williams Companies hired him as an assistant to the vice president of operatations of its pipeline division. Nearly two decades later, he took the reins as president. He was named chairman and chief executive officer of the Tulsa-based energy giant in 1994, becoming the first person outside the Williams family to lead the company.
Bailey was instrumental in growing the business as he directed the company through a series of major energy-related acquisitions. Bailey is most proud of the fact that the company's Core Values and Beliefs were formally adopted by the board on his watch.
During his career, he served as a board member of the Business Roundtable, National Alliance of Business, American Petroleum Institute, the American Gas Association, and Interstate Natural Gas Pipe Line Association among many others. Retiring in 2002, Bailey remains active on several corporate boards, including Aegis Insurance Services Ltd., Integrys Energy, Mark West Energy Partners and Apco Argentina.
Bailey currently serves on the boards of The University of Tulsa, Missouri University of Science and Technology, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma Heritage Association. He has previously served as chairman of United Way of America's Board of Directors, Philbrook Museum, the Tulsa Area United Way, and the National Alliance of Business. He remains a life member of the Tulsa Area United Way.
Bailey has previously been honored by inclusion in the following Halls of Fame: TU's Engineering, OSU Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology Athletic, Oklahoma and Tulsa.
Bailey and his wife of 44 years, Pat, have 4 married children and 11 grandchildren.