Betting on Sam
The untold story of a big ConocoPhillips gamble and the ambitions of a new c-store giant.
In talking to Sam Hirbod, you quickly pick up on some things.
He is always plugged in, juggling a BlackBerry and iPhone in two hands, a Bluetooth headset next to an ear. He’s courteous, but he has one eye fixed on the business at all times.
He embraces buzzwords: creativity, brand, backstops, change, deep dives, differentiation, transparency. He has a professor’s tendency toward the Socratic method of answering a question with a question.
And Hirbod, president and CEO of Pacific Convenience & Fuels LLC (PC&F), San Ramon, Calif., is keenly aware of the widespread interest in his company and the speculation about its stunning August 2008 acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ nearly 600-strong store network—a surprising twist in the continuing tale of major oil’s retail sell-off.