Growing up as extroverted and outspoken young man in the public schools of Newark, New Jersey, Tony Petrello was a humorous person. Exhibiting brilliant mathematical abilities at high school, he was offered a scholarship at Yale University working with the famed number theorist and mathematician Serge Lang. Tony undertook his bachelor’s degree and masters in mathematics at the university.
In a strange twist, instead of following a mathematical career, after Yale, he enrolled at Harvard Law School to the surprise of Serge Lang and others. Partly, this move could have been influenced by this boisterous personality unlike the quiet academic life of a mathematician which seemed less appealing.
In 1979 he joined Baker & McKenzie law firm taking a specialty in taxation and arbitration where he excelled. This experience helped him to gain relevant knowledge about how business and law interact and the intersection points. He became Baker & McKenzie managing partner for their New York office in 1986 until 1991. During this period, Tony Petrello crossed paths with one of the firm’s clients, Nabors Industries.
His professionalism left a good impression on this client especially his analysis powers and efforts. Out of this, Nabors tried to hire him severally. Their lobby efforts were fruitful in 1991 when Tony Petrello agreed to join Nabors as the Chief Operations Officer, and later a member of the executive committee and a member of the board of directors. His business expansion approach led to the purchase of Grace Drilling for $32 million in 1993. A larger transaction came in 2010 when Nabors Industries acquired Superior Well Services.
In 2011, Tony became the CEO of Nabors Industries before being named the chairman of both the board of directors and executive committee. He has undertaken the company through significant deals such as the streamline flow of production with C&J Energy in 2014, and the KazMunay-Gas in Kazakhstan in 2015. In 2016 Tony Petrello led Nabors Industries in a joint venture with Saudi Aramco called the SANAD. Saudi Aramco is the biggest oil producer in the world with a market value of over $10 trillion.
Moreover, Tony Petrello has a big heart and is a known philanthropist towards research efforts for neurological efforts affecting children. Together with his wife Cynthia, they have donated more than $7 million towards Texas Children’s Hospital’s Jan and Duncan Neurological Research Institute. This follows their developmental disability of their daughter who has cerebral palsy. They hope science and research can avail a hope through treatment methods for parents with such kids including their own.
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