Tony Petrello: Mathematician, Lawyer, and Leader

To lead one of the largest companies in the United States requires enormous talent. Not only must you be intelligent, but you also must be able to direct and motivate others. A corporation is a legal entity, and the CEO is its soul. Many CEOs are graduates of the top business schools with MBA degrees. However, there are instances where the CEO may have little or no college education, but years of experience with the company. In the case of Mr. Anthony Petrello, dare I say he may have been overqualified?Anthony Petrello, 62-years-old, has been the CEO of Nabors industries since 2011. Mr. Petrello is the product of working-class Italian-American parents. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey. A gifted mathematician, Petrello completed both a BS and an MS in mathematics at Yale University.

Everyone who knew him at the time figured that he would continue on that trajectory and go for his Ph.D., but young Anthony Petrello had other plans. He enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he completed his JD.Then in 1979, he accepted a position as a junior associate with the prestigious law firm of Baker & McKenzie. Seven years later he was the managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s New York office. In 1991 he resigned to become the COO and president of Houston, Texas-based Nabors Industries. He performed that role until 2011 when he was appointed CEO, and a year later he was voted chairman of Nabors‘ board of directors.

Nabors Industries is a major international player in contracted oil and gas drilling. The company employs over 15,000 workers and operates in 29 countries around the world. As the CEO and chairman, Anthony Petrello is responsible for creating a strategic vision and communicating that outlook to his team, the company’s shareholders, and to customers. The CEO job is a big responsibility, and Mr. Petrello has proven himself to be tailor-made for its duties. In 2014 Nabors’ CEO Anthony Petrello earned the top spot on AP’s list of highest paid American bosses. That year he made $68 million. Most of Mr. Petrello’s compensation was from performance bonuses and stock options.