Houston-based MRC Global Inc. distributes pipes, valves and fittings, and provides maintenance services, to energy and industrial companies. Founded in West Virginia in 1921 as McJunkin Supply Co., the family-run company sold a majority stake to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s private-equity fund in 2007, which later merged it with rival Red Man Pipe & Supply Co. Last year, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange and recorded $5.6 billion in revenue. It supplies more than 18,000 customers from offices in 44 countries.
Since joining MRC in 2011, general counsel Dan Churay has expanded the company’s in-house legal team from two to 12 lawyers spread across offices in Houston; Tulsa, Okla.; the United Kingdom; and Australia. The expansion has allowed Churay to cut the company’s regular spending on outside law firms nearly in half. The team’s duties have included overseeing MRC’s initial public offering in 2012 and supervising the acquisition of smaller distributors in Canada and overseas. The team also handles an array of regulatory compliance and litigation work.
MRC uses about 50 law firms around the globe, although seven receive about 80 percent of the company’s legal budget. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson handled the IPO, and it provides advice on matters including acquisitions and regulatory compliance. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; and Norton Rose Ful­bright work with the team, as does Houston litigation boutique Schiffer Odom Hicks & Johnson. Australia’s Minter Ellison provides legal work in that country and Leeds-based Walker Morris handles U.K. matters.
Churay has delegated much supervision of the firm’s litigation docket to a deputy. “I like mergers and acquisitions when we’re bringing new people in and integrating them because it has a big impact on the business,” he said. He typically arrives at work at 8 a.m. and leaves at 6 p.m. and spends about 70 percent of his time on legal matters. He oversees the company’s corporate affairs group, which includes human resources, marketing, pricing and risk management. He travels about one week per month to places like London, New York and Sydney.
ROUTE TO THE TOP
Churay finished law school at University of Houston Law Center in 1989 and spent six years doing securities and deal work as an associate at what is now Norton Rose Fulbright. He then went in-house at oilfield services giant Baker Hughes Inc., where he stayed for seven years and became deputy general counsel. He later joined trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc. as executive vice president and general counsel. He spent six months as chief executive officer of Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy Corp. before joining MRC.
Churay has been married to his wife, Lynn, for 27 years, and the couple has three sons, including one who is finishing his law degree. Churay is training for a National Multiple Sclerosis Society 150-mile charity bike ride.
LAST BOOK AND MOVIE
The last book Churay read was D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, by Stephen Ambrose. The last movie he saw was the British zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead.