Sometimes it takes a storm to bring people together from all walks of life, and it certainly brought people from both the white and blue collar neighborhoods together in Houston this last August and September. Hurricane Harvey was one of the deadliest storms to hit the US and it tragically inflicted billions of dollars and even claimed the lives of several victims. But it also brought out the generosity and compassion of many including oil industry magnate Tony Petrello. Petrello canceled the normal tasks of the day at Nabors Industries after Harvey hit, and he offered compensation for all employees who volunteered with emergency responders. The effort was widely appreciated by Houston city administrators and local business owners, and Petrello also gave an additional $176,000 of his own money to match donations given at an online fundraiser hosted by Nabors.
Tony Petrello has been a highly compensated executive, and over the 20 plus years he’s been at Nabors he’s helped negotiate many deals that have broadened the company’s technology portfolio and increased its stock value. He began in 1991 as chief operating officer and in 2011 was appointed chairman and CEO by the board of directors. Petrello was given a contract renegotiation in 2013 as a result of several issues that came up in a shareholder meeting, and his new contract offered millions in new bonuses, upped his stock and equity and made his total compensation for that year at $68.7 million, the highest-paid boss that year. He also led the buyout of Tesco Corporation in late 2017.
There are many little-known facts about Petrello that you won’t hear about in too many media outlets. He is a graduate of Yale University and was a mathematics genius there who studied under mathematician Serge Lange. Petrello was also in law for 13 years as an associate and later partner at Baker & McKenzie. As one of his philanthropies, Petrello has become a trustee at the Texas Children’s Hospital thanks to his gifts totaling $7 million to their Dan and Jan Duncan Neurological Research Institute. He made that gift because his daughter has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has to cope with it, and Petrello has hope that technology and medicine will one day be able to treat the disorder. Petrello is also a friend of Broadway actor Tommy Tune who is also a Houston native, and he hosted a reception party for him at his home just this fall.