From The Houston Business Journal. View the original story here.
Kathleen Eisbrenner, CEO, NextDecade LLC
For nearly three decades, Kathleen Eisbrenner served in leadership positions in some of the world’s most powerful energy companies. Now, her own liquefied natural gas development and management company, NextDecade LLC, is five years old and some say is on the brink of monumental success.
A combination of patience and impatience “I chose the phrase because to do what I do every day requires both attributes, and both attributes are difficult to find in many individuals. On the one hand you must be pushing boundaries and people, and on the other respectful of individuals and industry norms.”
Headquartered in The Woodlands, NextDecade was funded as a startup in 2010 by Eisbrenner and New York equity funds with $50 billion under management. Already, NextDecade operations are underway in Texas, and the company plans to quickly expand globally.
Her peers say she’s changed the liquefied natural gas business in the U.S. by developing new technology for offshore operations. Formerly the president of El Paso Gas Marketing, she crafted a joint venture with Shell for an operation in Mexico, representing the first new land-based liquefied natural gas facility there in 25 years. In 2003, with funding from billionaire oilman and banker George Kaiser, Eisbrenner founded Excelerate Energy, which she built up to a company with $3 billion in assets.
She joined Shell in 2007, and negotiated liquefied natural gas deals with PetroChina, the United Arab Emirates, and with Korean and Japanese buyers.
The multibillion-dollar deals that Eisbrenner has negotiated “receive industry accolades for their success, uniqueness and creativity,” said Gail Watkins, a partner with Porter Hedges.
She also touts Eisbrenner’s exceptional leadership skills and says that she strategizes by building high-performing teams.
“Through all of the activities required of a CEO of Kathleen’s rank, her smile, grace and poise inspire and build the confidence of others,” Watkins said.
The oldest of five children and mother of four, Eisbrenner is known for her mentorship of others and speaks to young people just starting their careers, most recently at Texas A&M University and the University of Tulsa.
The Eisbrenner File
Education: Bachelor’s from University of Notre Dame
Boards and affiliations: National Petroleum Council, member; United States Petroleum, member; American Bureau of Shipping, member
Years in the energy industry: 33
Years in leadership: 30