Tony Petrello Does More Than Give Time Off During Hurricane Harvey

Tony Petrello hasn’t always gotten the credit he deserves for helping the Houston community, and perhaps it’s because he’s a New Jersey transplant that later moved in, or it could be because he holds one of the most lucrative positions as CEO of Nabors Industries. But when hurricane Harvey came to the gulf coast this last fall, Petrello joined the forces of rescue teams and financial aid organizations. He began an online fundraiser through Nabors Industries to which he donate over $170,000 matching donations that were given to it, but he also encouraged employees to go out into the flooded areas and assist rescue teams. Everyone who did so or who cooked hot meals or directed victims to shelter was paid for their time out there.

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Tony Petrello’s childhood and college years were recapped by Lloyd Grove, a writer for The Daily Beast who was a roommate of Petrello’s at Yale University. Petrello had gotten acceptance to Yale because he was a genius in math who even during free time in high school often was known to spend that time studying math. Grove also mentioned that Petrello even studied under and was a protege of Serge Lange, one of the world’s most famous mathematicians at the time. But while he completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in advanced math, he actually decided to go into law instead of the mathematics research field. So Petrello completed his JD and then became an associate at Baker & McKenzie where he specialized in corporate law. He became a partner at the firm during his 13 years there, and it was a relationship he formed with Nabors Industries that led to his becoming Chief Operating Officer there in 1991.

Tony Petrello has been responsible for oil drilling technology developments at Nabors, and during a shareholder meeting of 2013 they elected to renegotiate his contract and pay out bonuses that made him the highest-paid CEO on a publicly traded company that year. But Petrello also became involved with the Texas Children’s Hospital because as a father he’s had to deal with an illness his young daughter Carena suffered that affected her brain and has confined her to special help. Petrello has been active in fundraisers for TCH’s neurology research institute in hopes of funding technology use that may one day discover a cure for diseases like cerebral palsy, and his contributions have totaled over $7 million.


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