Speedway has always proven to be a growth engine for parent company Marathon Petroleum Corp. While this status may evolve as Marathon plans to spin off its retail arm, what isn’t necessarily out of the equation is an increase in store count for the industry’s third-largest c-store chain and one of its most active acquirers. New York-based Elliott Management Corp., which had encouraged the spinoff, argued that Speedway could pursue growth in new markets and be more active in M&A as a stand-alone company.
Speedway’s president, Tim Griffith, continues to keep a steady foot on the growth pedal. With his experience in banking and finance and as former Marathon Petroleum chief financial officer, plus a role in Speedway’s most recent acquisitions—Hess in 2014 and Andeavor in 2018—he has a keen sense of the type of assets that make sense.
“The business won’t pursue something because it seems like a good idea,” Griffith told CSP in September, ahead of the spinoff announcement. “It will have to be based on returns over time, cash flows over time.”
He cited Speedway’s well-honed skill at rapid conversions—flipping 700 sites within 15 months with Andeavor, for example—as a differentiator among its peers.
As it adds to store count, Speedway will focus on keeping the offer and its Speedy Rewards loyalty program relevant to customers who are rejecting the commoditization of retail.
“Consumers increasingly want that customization, they want a personalized experience that’s not steps away from the generic fueling and soda transaction and expands well beyond that,” Griffith said. “The way we stay relevant is to continue to stay close to the customer and exactly what those preferences are.”