Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland: ‘In Today’s World, We Just Don’t Have Room For Brilliant Jerks’

Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland likes to tell young people: “In today’s world, we just don’t have room for brilliant jerks.”

A Phillips’ lifer, Garland’s first job after graduating from Texas A&M in 1980 was as a project engineer for Phillips’ Plastics Technical Center — and he’s never looked back in his nearly 30-year career at the Houston-based diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company.

Early on, Garland gained experience across the enterprise moving through various departments, working as a sales engineer for Phillips’ plastics resins, business service manager for advanced materials, business development director and olefins manager for chemicals.

He then began to move up the corporate ladder: manager of the K-Resin business unit, manager of planning and development in planning and technology, general manager of natural gas liquids and then general manager of Phillips’ Qatar/Middle East division.

Moving into the top ranks, Garland served Chevron Phillips as senior vice president, Planning & Specialty Chemicals, and then assumed the position of president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., which is now a joint venture between Phillips 66 and Chevron.

In 2010, he began serving as senior vice president, Exploration and Production, Americas, for ConocoPhillips, and then in 2012, stepped up to become chairman and CEO of Phillips 66 and all its subsidiaries. In Money Inc.’s10 Things You Didn’t Know About Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland,” many of his colleagues claim he has “quite a different demeanor” than many other CEOs, demonstrating “tremendous control without being wound too tightly.”

“Garland has always placed standards and ethics at the top of the list. He believes that good ethics makes for good business,” Money Inc. writes. “In an industry that’s involved with energy and essentially the planet, it’s important to be responsible and make morally correct decisions. It’s clear that Garland is the right man for the job.”

When visiting his alma mater in February, Garland told students that “it’s not what you do, but it’s also how you do it.”

“In today’s world, we just don’t have room for brilliant jerks,” he said. “We need people who want to be part of a team to communicate, who understand the value of diversity and inclusion. We need people that will work to make the environment a better place to be, and help us to create a great workplace and a great place to work for our employees. That doesn’t happen by itself. It only happens when every individual is aligned to make that happen.”

He’s No. 32 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Houston, TX

Age: 60

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University

First joined company: 1980

Prior to joining Philips 66: N/A

Named CEO: 2013

Katie Kuehner-Hebert: Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than two decades of experience writing about corporate, financial and industry-specific issues. She is based in Running Springs, Calif.