by Matthew V. Veazey
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
The long-time energy executive and philanthropist died Tuesday at age 91.
Long-time energy executive and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens died Tuesday at the age of 91.
Pickens, an Oklahoma native and long-time Dallas resident, died of natural causes surrounded by family and friends, spokesman Jay Rosser said. According to a written statement on the website boonepickens.com, Pickens is survived by his five children, 11 grandchildren and an unspecified number of great-grandchildren.
A geologist by training, Pickens graduated from Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 1951 and worked for Phillips Petroleum before forming an oil and gas firm three years later that would ultimately become the large independent Mesa Petroleum. Pickens also earned a reputation in the business world during the 1980s as a staunch advocate of maximizing shareholder value. His website notes that he encouraged shareholders to voice concerns to management when they believed their interests did not align with management’s.
“In the 1980s, he challenged Big Oil, and big American business in general, that it needed to drastically restructure to meet the times,” boonepickens.com states. “A David versus Goliath bid for Gulf Oil by independent Mesa Petroleum and an investor group was the loudest shot of this campaign. Eventually, all of the Seven Sisters remade their families, benefiting their shareholders.”
After leaving Mesa in 1996, Pickens built the energy-focused investment firm BP Capital. The following decade, in the early days of the shale revolution, he financed the “Pickens Plan” campaign to advocate for lower U.S. reliance on imported oil.
Pickens was also a major supporter of his alma mater.
“He was the ultimate Cowboy,” OSU President Burns Hargis said in written statement, referencing the university’s mascot. “It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation.”
According to Pickens’ legacy website, plans for memorial services in Dallas and Stillwater, Okla., are pending.
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Matthew V. Veazey
Senior Editor | Rigzone