What image comes to mind when you think of an oil executive? Is it a greedy older man with slicked back hair hiding behind a black suit? Or perhaps an old-school Texan in a cowboy hat adjusting his vest and barking orders? Neither of these images fit Tony Petrello. This 62-year-old is a CEO with a golden heart. Tony has a proclivity for philanthropy, which continues to expand over the years. With over $5 million donated to the medical community alone, Tony’s streak of giving doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Tony Petrello grew up poor. His parents were constantly struggling with money; this inspired Tony to study hard in an effort to support him and his family. Tony always had a love for mathematics — later helping his Yale professor Serge Lang develop his work on number theory — and his dedication to studying landed him a scholarship at Yale University. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law and was hired by Nabors Industries not long after. He worked his way up through the company and years later successfully became CEO. Another important thing that Tony did post-law-school was marrying his wife Cynthia. Together they founded the Petrello Family Foundation, a foundation dedicated to education, arts, and medicine. Tony always remembered his years at Yale and working with Serge Lang and later went on to establish an endowment of $150,000 at Yale for those excelling in mathematics.
Tony Petrello’s life hasn’t been a steady ride. Petrello’s daughter Carena was born early; at 24 months old she weighed only 20 ounces. After her birth, doctors diagnosed her with periventricular leukomalacia, a disease affecting early born infants. Carena developed cerebral palsy as a result as well as numerous neurological disorders. This sparked a passion for medical philanthropy in Tony. He and his wife established the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, an institute dedicated to studying neurological effects in children. Tony and his wife Cynthia have donated over $5 million to the institute with a guarantee of another $2 million.
When hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the devastation was instantaneous and widespread. Nabors Industry has a strong sense of giving back that is integrated deep into the companies culture. This vision and culture is also shared with Tony, who, after Harvey, gave paid time off to his employees so that they could volunteer to work in the wreckage. Nabors also matched all employee donations — over $160,000 — to the Nabors Disaster relief fund. The fund was used to help rebuild areas of Houston effected by the hurricane.
Tony Petrello is a CEO that shows that hard work, intellect, and a kind heart can get you far in this world. His contact specifies that his salary is based on the production of the business. He makes sure that his employees know that he is right there beside them in trying to craft a better future, not only for his company but for his community. A true outlier in the world of oil CEOs, Tony Petrello is an example of an oil executive with not only wit and work ethic, but a love for community and science.