The McLane file Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2008

Born: Cameron, Texas

Education: Undergraduate degree, Baylor University; MBA, Michigan State University

History: McLane Co. Inc. was started in 1894 by McLane’s grandfather, Robert. McLane’s father, Drayton McLane Sr., joined the company in 1922. McLane Jr. joined the company full time in 1959, rising to president and CEO in 1978, a title he held until McLane Co. merged with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 1990. McLane assumed the titles of chairman of McLane Co. and vice chairman of Wal-Mart. He resigned both positions in 1993 to concentrate on running the McLane Group, founded in 1992, and running the Houston Astros, which he purchased in 1993.

What are some things only experience can teach a CEO?

The details of the business. You can learn business principles in school, but you need to dig into each industry and business to learn the details of how it best operates and what is important and critical to that business. You must also understand the people in your organization and what drives them to achieve their highest potential.

What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?

You should always work with integrity, honesty and vision while encouraging people as well as holding them accountable.

What is your definition of success?

Complete happiness in every part of your life — your personal life, business life and your responsibility to society. Success in business to me is leading a growing business, making a profit, and rewarding employees and customers.

What has been your favorite baseball moment as owner of the Astros?

So far, it was our sixth game against the Cardinals (in the 2005 National League Championship Series) when we had a four-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning. They hit a fly ball to Jason Lane for the third out, and we were on our way to the World Series.