Tony Petrello: Mathematician, Attorney, CEO, Multi-Talented Executive And Committed Philanthropist

Many people know Tony Petrello as CEO of Houston, Texas based Nabors Industries Ltd and one of the highest paid chief executives in the United States. What a lot of them don’t know is that he was raised in a working-class neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. Tony Petrello was a hardworking student with a talent for mathematics. He earned a scholarship to Yale, where he graduated with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics. Petrello then attended Harvard Law School and earned his law degree. He was then hired by the internationally known law firm Baker & McKenzie.

It was while working at Baker & McKenzie that Tony Petrello came to the attention of Nabors Industries. The oil and gas drilling company was one of Baker & McKenzie’s most important clients. Tony Petrello was a hardworking attorney who quickly worked his way up the ranks to become managing partner of the law firm’s Manhattan office. Nabors Industries was impressed by his intelligence and work ethic and offered him a job as their chief operating officer in 1991. Petrello accepted and his work was so impressive, Nabors Industries promoted him to president the next year.


Over the next 20 years, Tony Petrello played such an important role in the company’s growth, Nabors Industries made him CEO and company chairman by 2012. In 2015, the company paid him over $67 million. He was America’s highest paid CEO that year. Tony Petrello also became an important part of the Houston community. Along with his work at Nabors Industries, he also served as director of MediaOnDemand, Stewart & Stevenson and Hilcorp Energy Company. Petrello was able to help all those companies take advantage of the opportunities in their market and become very successful.

When Tony Petrello’s daughter, Carena, was born with cerebral palsy, he donated $7 million to Texas Children’s Hospital to help them build a neurological research institute dedicated to finding the causes and treatments for mentally and physically challenged children worldwide suffering with neurological disorders. Tony Petrello also helped the hospital raise an additional several hundred million required to build the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and hire the staff to make it one of the top facilities of its kind in the world.

But Tony Petrello was not satisfied with simply getting the facility built, he became an advocate for clinical programs and research to help doctors address the dire needs of children suffering with neurological disorders. Petrello also became a member of Texas Children’s Hospital’s board of trustees and serves as director of the Texas Children’s Hospital, Incorporated.

Tony Petrello has proven to be more than an excellent chief executive, he is also a caring and committed philanthropist.