Boone Pickens at 90 – Oilman Extraordinaire
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• The drive, focus and leadership of T. Boone Pickens.
• Reputation as a corporate raider.
• A magnificent ranch in Texas.
• A difficult personal life.
• Benevolence toward Oklahoma State University.
It’s the month of May in Oklahoma, where tornadoes come quickly to mind. But this year, another event comes to mind….the 90th birthday of Boone Pickens. The man is a legend – known as a successful oilman, and corporate raider in the 1980s, and for his largesse to Oklahoma State University (OSU), and for his five divorces.
The following bullets are a sample of Boone Pickens life….most of them are excerpts from the Tulsa World on Tuesday 22 May, 2018 — an article written by Bill Haisten.
• PICKENS WENT TO OSU AND COMPLETED A GEOLOGY DEGREE. Even at this young age, he was witty, driven, and smart. Ambitious and focused, he was a leader. Extremely competitive in everything he does.
• Following his graduation, Pickens was employed by Phillips Petroleum. He worked for Phillips until 1954. In 1956, following his period as a wildcatter, he founded the company that would later become Mesa Petroleum.
• He never smoked. And never more than a light drinker – an occasional glass of wine. During his Mesa Petroleum years, Pickens was among the first CEOs to emphasize a fitness culture for employees. A workout facility was put in Mesa headquarters in Amarillo, and Pickens used it every day.
• At 88 he lived a fast-moving, active lifestyle. Five days a week there were 6:30 am treadmill workouts. He might have breakfast in Dallas, lunch in New York, and dinner at his 68,000 acre ranch in the Texas Panhandle.
• “I was put on this earth to make money and to be generous with it,” Pickens once said. He made and lost billions of dollars in the oil-and-gas and investment businesses. His total lifetime benevolence amounts to slightly more than $1 billion.
• About half of his donations have gone to his alma mater, OSU — split between academics and athletics. The OSU Cowboys play football in Boone Pickens Stadium.
• IN 2016 HE SUFFERED MULTIPLE STROKES, and now undergoes frequent sessions of speech and physical therapy. “There are two things I’ve enjoyed doing throughout my life. One is quail hunting, the other golf. But I have macular degeneration and its progressed to the point that I can’t shoot or hit a golf ball very well.”
• “A few strokes and a bad fall in 2016 have really altered my perspective. I’m clearly in the fourth quarter and time is not my friend. I have come to accept and even embrace my mortality.”
• In 2016 Pickens was CEO of his BP Capital hedge fund company in Dallas, where his residence is. Nowadays he is shedding ownerships. His ranch is available for sale for $250 million.
• Pickens was on a first-name basis with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And with entertainment figures Warren Beatty and Burt Reynolds. At the 90th birthday bash, held at Dallas Country Club, were Jerry Jones and Roger Staubach. Video messages were submitted by Warren Buffet, Steve Forbes, George Strait, Ted Turner, Garth Brooks, and Karl Rove.
FOR AUSSIE READERS: One of the photos in the Tulsa World article showed Boone Pickens standing next to a tall 7-foot basketball player in the OSU team of 2013: Mason Cox. Cox now plays Aussie football for Collingwood, a Melbourne team, and earlier today I watched video highlights that showed him taking two glorious overhead marks last Friday night. In 2014 he hadn’t even touched an Aussie football, but on Anzac Day in 2016 he kicked the first goal for Collingwood. Mason Cox graduated from OSU with an engineering degree.
The following bullets are from Wikipedia:
• BY 1981, MESA HAD GROWN INTO ONE OF THE LARGEST INDEPENDENT OIL COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. Pickens led Mesa’s first major acquisition, a takeover of the Hugoton Production Company, which was 30 times the size of Mesa. He then shifted his focus to acquiring other oil and gas companies by making solicited and unsolicited buyout bids and other merger and acquisition activity.
• Pickens’ corporate acquisitions made him a celebrity during the 1980s, an era of vigorous and extensively reported takeover activity. His most publicized deals included attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal. It was during this period that Pickens led Mesa’s successful acquisitions of Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco.
• These as well as other deals placed Pickens at the center of controversy during the 1980s. His celebrity rose so quickly after the Gulf Oil takeover bid that Time magazine put Pickens on the cover for the March 1985 issue. He briefly considered running for president in the 1988 elections. During this period, he was often characterized as a corporate raider. This is due to the fact that many of his deals were not completed, although Pickens and the shareholders he represented received substantial profits through the eventual sale of their stock as a result.
• Pickens published a book in 1987 called Boone, and another in 2008 called The First Billion is the Hardest.
• NATURAL GAS.
Pickens has called for the construction of more nuclear power plants, the use of natural gas to power the country’s transportation systems, and the promotion of alternative energy.
Pickens’s involvement with the natural gas fueling campaign is long-running. He formed Pickens Fuel Corporation in 1997 and began promoting natural gas as the best vehicular fuel alternative because it is a domestic resource that is cleaner-burning — Natural Gas Vehicles or NGVs emit up to 30% less pollution than gasoline or diesel vehicles, and halve the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
NGVs also reduce foreign oil consumption. Reincorporated as Clean Energy Fuels Corporation in 2001, the company now owns and operates natural gas fueling stations from British Columbia to the Mexico–US border.
To see short videos of Fracking for Dummies and Non-Experts, click HERE.
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Good blog about Boone. He’s an Oklahoma icon. Sure hope he knows Jesus.
I enjoy reading your blog, Ian. So nice to be re-connected with you after so many years.
Sheila and I have visited friends in Melbourne a few times in the past several years. They are HUGE Collingwood fans. I can’t wait to remind them that Mason Cox once hailed from Oklahoma.