Neil Wizel, 39
Managing Director, First Reserve, Houston
Responsible for investing more than $2 billion of First Reserve’s equity capital across a variety of energy investments. Led three of the firm’s eight most recent private equity portfolio investments. Originated 130-plus deal opportunities, totaling $26 billion in transactional opportunities.
Entrée to the industry: Entered the oil and gas industry as a financial analyst in the leveraged finance/financial sponsor group at Credit Suisse First Boston. Next, was member of the investment staff at Greenbriar Equity Group, transportation-focused private equity firm.
Something from nothing: During Great Recession, jointly led an investment to support refining industry veteran Tom O’Malley and his team to acquire refining assets. “It was a complex start-up where we essentially backed a management team to build a refining company from nothing.” Resulted in PBF Energy, fifth - largest U.S. independent refining company, taken public on the NYSE in 2012.
Taking a chance: “Taking a contrarian view,” maintained commitment to Deep Gulf Energy, a deepwater Gulf of Mexico E&P company, even after federal government imposed a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico following the Macondo incident.
Setting a precedent: Followed unique career path; was the first employee at Greenbriar promoted directly from associate to principal without pursuing an MBA. Since then, several others at the firm have been given that opportunity.
Staying grounded: “While it is important to have a point of view and conviction, it is equally important to question your judgments and your decisions. The day you stop questioning whether or not you are making the right investment decision is the day you should retire!”