Chairman of NuStar Energy and Haven for Hope Bill Greehy.
Bill Greehey, the chairman of NuStar Energy and its founding CEO, will be stepping down effective immediately, the company says. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

This article has been updated.

NuStar Energy Chairman Bill Greehey, the company’s founding CEO, has stepped down and is being succeeded by CEO and President Bradley Barron, NuStar announced Thursday.

The 86-year-old Greehey’s departure, which is effective immediately, marks a milestone for the company, which spun out of Valero Energy in the early 2000s. Greehey was also the founding CEO of Valero, where he stayed for more than 40 years. NuStar and Valero are two of San Antonio’s largest publicly traded firms.

NuStar transports and stores crude oil, refined products and renewable fuels. It owns more than 10,000 miles of pipeline across the continent, along with 63 terminal and storage facilities.

Greehey will now have the honorary role of “chairman emeritus.”

He said in a prepared statement: “It is with mixed emotions that I have made the decision to retire from NuStar’s board of directors because I truly love our board members, executive team and employees, and the pride that they take in NuStar and in our communities, and the great work they do to make NuStar an industry leader that plays such a vital role in meeting our nation’s energy needs.”

He continued, “But I look forward to continuing to be active in philanthropic activities with NuStar in the community and in supporting Haven for Hope and the many vital nonprofits in the San Antonio area.”

Greehey is the founder of Haven for Hope, San Antonio’s largest facility serving homeless people, and has given more than $25 million to St. Mary’s University.

Brad Barron, NuStar Energy's president and CEO, is the company's new chairman, replacing William Greehey.
Brad Barron, NuStar Energy’s president and CEO, is the company’s new chairman, replacing Bill Greehey. Credit: Courtesy / NuStar Energy

Barron was voted in as chairman in a board election. Barron has been president and CEO since 2014 and was previously NuStar’s executive vice president and general counsel. He has been with the company since at least 2001. Barron in September was appointed to the board of the San Antonio branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

“Bill Greehey is truly a pioneer and a legend not only in the energy industry, but in the San Antonio community and in communities all across the globe where Valero and NuStar have operated under his leadership,” Barron said in a prepared statement. “It’s really impossible to quantify the impact he has had by founding and leading not one, but two Fortune 500 companies, creating thousands of great-paying jobs at Valero and NuStar, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars of support for local nonprofits from both of these entities as well as The Greehey Family Foundation.”

Greehey spent 40 years at Valero, during which time it grew to become one of the world’s largest petroleum and pipeline operators in the country. The Harvard Business Review in 2012 ranked him in its annual listing of “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” as No. 12 in the United States and No. 31 in the world.

NuStar began in 2001 out of Shamrock Logistics LP, formed by the former Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. In December that year it was purchased by Valero Energy for $6 billion and renamed to Valero LP. Greehey helped spin the company off into an independent entity in 2007.

“There is no question that he is one of the most successful business persons, if not the most successful business person, in San Antonio,” former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger said. “But what made him different is how much he loved and cared for his community.”

Hardberger was mayor in 2006 when Greehey spearheaded the creation of Haven for Hope, organizing it using much of his own money. “There’s not a person that could have done a better job in San Antonio,” Hardberger said.

“If you set aside his charitable contributions, which are large, and didn’t consider anything else, you’d still have to say he has been one of San Antonio’s best citizens,” he said.

The Greehey Family Foundation, NuStar Energy and Valero are financial supporters of the San Antonio Report. For a full list of business members, click here.

Waylon Cunningham covered business and technology for the San Antonio Report.