Steven J. Malcolm
2011 Outstanding Business Leader
Steven J. Malcolm is the recently retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of Tulsa-based Williams. His retirement in 2010 marked the end of a 26-year career at Williams in which he held leadership positions throughout the company, including areas encompassing business development, gas management, and midstream gathering and processing.
He rose to the position of president and CEO of the company’s Energy Services business unit in 1998 and then, in January 2002, he was named CEO of Williams. His tenure began under a storm of unprecedented turmoil at the nearly 100-year-old company, caused primarily by simultaneous meltdowns in the energy trading and telecommunications industries.
As the newly minted leader of Williams, Malcolm immediately set both long- and short-term strategies to get Williams back on track. In a move that one financial analyst described as “completing three ‘Hail Mary’ passes at one time,” Malcolm led the company in securing several short-term loans that kept it from filing for bankruptcy. His strategy to focus Williams’s business around its large-scale natural gas assets in key growth areas and divest non-core assets was successful, resulting in a leaner, stronger company.
With the crisis resolved, Malcolm led Williams into a new era of growth and expansion, which he presided over until his retirement in 2010. During those six years, the company continued to invest in and expand its natural gas businesses across the country in key growth basins, resulting in the achievement of major financial milestones. In 2007-08, as the company celebrated its 100th anniversary, Williams had successfully regained its status as an investment-grade company and was lauded by the industry’s major ratings agencies.
At the time of his retirement, Williams had become the 10th largest producer of natural gas in the United States, was one of North America’s largest providers of midstream gathering and processing services, and delivered approximately 12 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States each day through its interstate gas pipelines. The company’s market value, which had dwindled to near zero in July 2002, had grown to more than $14 billion.
Malcolm has served on the boards of the YMCA of the USA, YMCA of Greater Tulsa, St. John Medical Center (Tulsa), The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees, Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League Advisory Board, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice and many other foundations and community service organizations. Malcolm is a 1970 civil engineering graduate of the Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla). Steve and his wife, Gwen, have one daughter.