T. Boone Pickens

Firm: BP Capital Management
City: Dallas
2008 Age: 79
2008 Assets Under Management: $5 Billion

Born in 1928, Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. is chairman of the hedge fund BP Capital Management (BP standing for Boone Pickens).

His father worked as an oil and mineral land man. Pickens attended Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship but transferred to Oklahoma A&M where he majored in geology in 1951. He worked for Phillips Petroleum for several years out of college.

In 1956 he founded the company that would evolve into Mesa Petroleum. By In the early 1980’s Mesa had grown into an largest independent oil companies on a global scale. At this time Pickens turned his attention to acquiring other oil and gas companies.

Mesa attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal and was able to successfully acquire Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco. During this period, he was often characterized as a corporate raider and appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

In 1997 Pickens founded BP Capital Management. The BP Capital fund has profited massively from rising energy prices in recent years. A large percentage of the $5 billion in assets under management at BP Capital consists of Pickens’ own money.

Pickens is notorious for predicting the coming advent of $100 oil. He has been vocal on the issue of Peak Oil – asserting that world oil production may have entered a state of permanent decline. He has spoken out in favor of of the use of nuclear power plants and the use of natural gas for transportation. He is also a vigorous proponent of alternative energy sources, such as wind energy.

Pickens has already invested in a 4,000 megawatt wind farm in Texas, and has launched an energy plan referred to the Pickens Plan. The plan aims to replace dependence on middle eastern oil with wind energy. His vision involves harnessing the ‘wind corridor’ that runs from the Canadian border to West Texas to generate 20% of US electricity.

Pickens is an active philanthropist – in 2006 the T. Boone Pickens Foundation was established. The foundation provides grants supporting educational programs, medical research, corporate wellness, at-risk youths and wildlife initiatives.

Boone Pickens Quotes:

“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the “ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You must be willing to fire.”

“My IQ is the gas price. At $3 I’m a genius. At $1.50 I’m a moron. Don’t talk to me too fast; it’s at $1.53 today.”

“Keep things informal. Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas. Great things come from our luncheon meetings, which consist of a sandwich, a cup of soup, and a good idea or two. No martinis.”

“I like making money. I like giving it away…. not as much as I like making it, but it’s a close second”

“I am calling on the next President and Congress to take immediate action in the first 100 days of the new Administration to do whatever is necessary to make this plan a reality. We are asking the American public to get behind this plan and to help us reduce our dangerous dependency on foreign oil. This has to be the number one priority in the country starting today and that’s what this campaign is all about. I am also calling for a monthly report on the reduction in foreign oil imports and a monthly report on progress in the development of natural gas vehicles in this country.”