Physics alumnus Terry Heneaghan (1968)
Terry A. Heneaghan is founder and Executive Chairman of BowLeven Plc an oil and gas group. He graduated in 1968 in Applied Physics at Strathclyde
I did not use my Physics degree in any technical sense. When I graduated in 1968 and compared myself against my university peers, I knew that I would only be a mediocre physicist. I decided to do something different. I studied for a year as a trainee actuary before returning to Strathclyde University in September 1969 to take an MBA degree. I graduated MBA in summer 1970. My career path thereafter is shown below.
Currently I am Executive Chairman at Bowleven PLC. I am responsible for the management of all aspects of this publicly listed company but my work is focussed on appraising and developing a gas/condensate field offshore of Cameroon, West Africa for the primary purpose of generating value for shareholders by creating a gas fired electricity-generating business for the people of Cameroon.
The oil and gas business is a challenging and exciting industry. I grew through the ranks over 30 years and derive great satisfaction in getting to the top of the tree and gaining the respect of my peers. Along the way, I have taken four companies for stock market listings both in the UK and USA, raising over £500 million in the process and created value for each group of shareholders. In my career, I have raised several billion pounds of equity and debt finance.
I chose to be educated in Physics because maths and physics were my best subjects at school. I discarded applied physics as a career because I was not good enough to be a success in this field and decided to do something else. My physics education and training has been invaluable in providing me with
- a sound basis for logical thought,
- an inquisitive mind for business analysis,
- a solid mathematical approach to problem-solving.
In addition, the recognition by others that I am trained in physics and maths gained me respect at an early stage over my arts graduate colleagues and business competitors.
However, the fact that it is such a full course, with lectures every morning and labs every afternoon (except Wednesdays) led to my peers and I graduating with lots of knowledge about maths and physics but little else, hence my reason for going back to university; in order to be re-educated with the MBA course. That said, I did and still do regard my physics training to be at the core of my career success. The lecturing staff were mostly good fun and the group of students in my year were an excellent bunch; good beer drinkers and girl chasers.
Now that I am 60 years of age, I aim to retire and have fun. To spend more time fishing, playing golf and helping my offspring to be successful in their lives. I love to travel and I visit a new country each year. There is so much to see before I die and I plan to do as much as possible in my retirement.
- 1970-71: Hyster Limited, Irvine. (Fork Lift Truck Manufacture)
Job: Assembly Line Controller
- 1971-74: R C Greig & Co, Glasgow. (Stockbrokers)
Job: Senior Investment Analyst
- 1974-77: British Gas, London. (Gas production and sales)
Job: Cash controller
- 1977-80: Elf Aquitaine Plc, London (Oil and gas exploration and production [“E&P”])
Job: Treasurer (UK)
- 1980-83: Aquitaine Company of Canada, Calgary, Canada. (Oil and gas E & P)
Job: Treasurer (North America)
- 1983-84: Elf Aquitaine Plc, London. (Oil and Gas E & P)
Job: Director, Corporate Development
- 1984-87: Petranol Plc. London. (Oil and gas E & P)
Job: Managing Director
- 1987-1997: Pittencrieff Plc, Edinburgh. (Oil and Gas E & P)
Job: Chief Executive
- 1998-now: BowLeven Plc, Edinburgh (Oil and gas E & P)
Job: Executive Chairman