Tony Petrello Brings Hope To Young Children At Texas Children’s Hospital

Tony Petrello is often known as a tough deal maker in the oil business because he’s helped acquire major oil holdings for Nabors Industries, the Houston-based company where he currently serves as CEO and Chairman.

He even earned the title of the nation’s highest-paid CEO in 2013 when his total compensation reached $68 million. But what he really should be known for is the people he’s helped through philanthropy, including young children who’ve been born with brain diseases and need assistance with daily tasks at the Texas Children’s Hospital.

This particular cause hits home for Tony Petrello because he and his wife Cynthia have a young girl they love dearly named Carena. Carena had an illness when she was born resulting from periventricular leukomalacia, an incurable symptom that can bring severe damage to an infant’s brain. In Carena’s case it caused cerebral palsy and this very much broke Petrello’s heart. He once mentioned that he found himself having difficulty eating and sleeping because he started caring less about his career and more about his daughter. He and Cynthia consulted with neurological doctors from all over the nation about what could be done but told there was nothing to treat their daughter with.

While the news was discouraging for the Petrellos, they met some kind and caring people in Dan and Jan Duncan who had decided to help the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston establish a neurological research center. Tony Petrello saw an opportunity to bring advanced technology to this institute and perhaps one day the treatment that could cure PVL in young children like Carena. He helped host a fundraiser for the hospital and contributed $7 million of his own funds to it, and the hospital board expressed deep gratitude to him. Petrello has pitched the need for more awareness of neurological studies because of the difference it could one day make in a child’s life.

Prior to moving to Houston and running one of the world’s top oil drilling companies, Petrello lived in New Jersey and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in advanced mathematics from Yale University. He had considered becoming a full-time mathematician but then took an interest in law and served as an attorney for several big corporations at Baker & McKenzie. He had become a partner at this firm when Nabors Industries offered him the position of Chief Operating Officer which he gladly accepted in 1991. He became CEO of the company in 2011 when the former CEO Eugene Isenberg passed away.

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