Operating Companies

Valero CEO: "We need people to get back to work"

December 28, 2010: 12:49 PM ET
Valero CEO William Klesse

Valero CEO William Klesse

Interview by Shelley DuBois, reporter

Valero 's (VLO) William Klesse is coming up on his fifth year as CEO, where he's worked for over 40 years. He offers some insight about how his company and the energy sector have navigated the recession, and why refining companies like Valero behave differently in the market than companies that also do exploring and refining, like BP. Klesse also talks about what energy sector investors might want to look for in 2011:

Fortune: You've been CEO of this company on either side of the recession. How do you lead during tough times?

Klesse: One thing you would probably ask me is did I see this big downturn coming, and the answer would be of course not. But we did always feel that even in the golden age of refining, it would not stay as high as it was in 2005-2007. What we didn't see was the complete collapse that we had in September 2008.

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