Newark, New Jersey native Anthony ‘Tony’ Petrello has worked his way up from a working-class neighborhood to become America’s highest paid CEO.
It is a journey that has taken his through Yale University, Harvard Law School, famous New York law firm Baker & McKenzie to the leadership of Nabors Industries, one of the leading gas and oil drilling companies on the planet. The journey has had some surprising twists and turns, but they have all helped to make Petrello into the husband, father, chief executive and philanthropist he is today. Each step along the way has taught him valuable lessons.
When high school math whiz Tony Petrello left Newark to study mathematics at Yale University under famed mathematician Serge Lang, most people predicted he would have an illustrious career in academia. Instead, after earning his bachelor’s and masters degrees in mathematics, he choose to attend Harvard Law School. Once he got his juris doctor, he took a position with New York law firm Baker & Mckenzie in 1986. He was soon made managing director. His work was so impressive he was hired by Nabors Industries, one of Baker & McKenzie’s biggest clients, as their chief operating officer.
At Nabors Industries Tony Petrello steadily climbed the corporate ladder. A year after being hired by the company he was promoted to president. He was named deputy director of the Houston, Texas based drilling contractor a short time later. In 2011 he was named CEO of the company and then in 2012 he was elected chairman of the board. His excellent work led to a significant increase in pay. By 2015 the Associated Press had identified him as the highest paid chief executive in the country. He had earned over $68 million in compensation that year. It was a success story that can serve as inspiration for many inner-city youths as they face the many challenges in their communities.
Always a caring individual, Petrello became even more involved in philanthropy when his daughter was born prematurely and had cerebral palsy. Petrello gave $7 million to Texas Children’s hospital to be used to build a research for neurological issues and is now director of Texas ?Children’s Hospital Inc. And Anthony Petrello also continues to support a number of other philanthropic causes. Petrello’s success is an example of what can be accomplished when a person focuses their energy, time and talent to a goal and takes advantage of their opportunities.