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Title: Legal and Corporate Secretary, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Location: Dallas Age: 50 Make Your Own Luck Louis P. Gregory likes the adage: “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” If so, he and Atmos Energy Corp. were very lucky in 2004, when the company acquired TXU Gas in record time, with Gregory riding point and setting the pace. Robert W. Best, Gregory’s boss, says Gregory practically willed the deal to be done early, even though Atmos had until the end of the calendar year. “We set our goals very high, but Louis was really the one that kept saying we could get this done by Oct. 1, 2004. I have to admit, while I was full of optimism, in the back of my mind that was really fast,” says Best, Atmos’ chairman, president and CEO. Gregory says his veteran team members were so finely tuned by years of smaller deals, many before he came on board in 2000, that they actually surprised themselves with how well the $1.9 billion deal turned out. “You’ve done it, you know what you’re doing. It is a little different. You know where your sticking points are,” he says. The time pressure was twofold, he says, because they didn’t want to close in the middle of winter, and there was a $15 million penalty if they didn’t close by Dec. 31, 2004. So he shot for an earlier deadline. His team took a weekend to put the process in place, cutting down on as much red tape as possible. For example, Atmos assumed some of TXU Gas’ long-term debt, which streamlined the regulatory process. Gregory’s team also handled much of the closing process on the front end to save time. The transition from the deal, which doubles the company’s customer base, is ongoing. CFO J. Patrick Reddy, who worked closely with Gregory on the TXU deal, applauds his business judgment. Best says he searched for more than a year before hiring Gregory, because he wanted a leader who fit the existing legal department, not a new regime. Once he found that in Gregory, it didn’t matter that he didn’t have energy experience. “He’s done really outstanding. As he’s come in and he’s learned the energy business, and as he’s gotten to know the people in our company, he’s growing,” Best says. Gregory has kept his veteran team, and increased its skills, while tightening the company’s management of outside counsel. He installed a tracking system to monitor that. But the TXU Gas acquisition will probably double outside-counsel costs in the short term, he says, because while the deal doubled the size of the customer base, it did not bring any in-house attorneys to Atmos. Gregory is still gathering information as he decides what work to bring in-house and how many lawyers he may need. “If you don’t know what you’re spending, maybe you don’t know what you should be internalizing,” he says.

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