Devon Energy's Larry Nichols entering a new era

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: December 13, 2012
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One of the lesser-known lines on the resume of Larry Nichols is that he was a clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He also worked for an assistant U.S. attorney general who later became a chief justice. Nichols has a degree from the University of Michigan, consistently ranked among the nation's Top 10 law schools.

Given this career path, circumstances could have propelled Nichols to a vastly different career and a place far removed from the job he holds and the city he calls home. Fortunately, those circumstances didn't go that way.

Another resume line: Nichols has a geology degree from Princeton. There, among other things, he learned about the Devonian era's wealth of sea creatures whose corporate remains formed hydrocarbons. The geologic period is named for England's Devon region. So, too, was the oil and gas company that Nichols would co-found. As the story goes, his father was taken by the name when he saw it on a map that was hanging — where else? — in a law office.

The law clerk with a geology degree went on to become chairman of Devon Energy Corp. Layer upon layer of lines in his resume reveal dedication not only to Devon but to the community and the industry. His leadership roles in local business groups, petroleum industry circles and in the arts and humanities have been driven not by ego but by caring and compassion. Nichols, 70, has led his firm and Oklahoma City to new heights — literally and figuratively.

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