Brian Blad always knew that he wanted to one day become the CFO. Today, he is CFO of Warwick Group, a private-equity firm founded in 2010 that has approximately $1.5 billion in managed assets, including interests in more than 5,000 oil and gas wells across eight U.S. states. Warwick specializes in aggregating core positions in major plays including the Scoop, Stack and Merge in Oklahoma, the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin.
Blad recounts that he felt prepared to become the CFO in 2016, which was “when the opportunity presented itself.” He had worked as a controller for American Energy Partners LP and was on the management team for a set of private-equity-financed portfolio companies of Wexford Capital LP for several years prior, maintaining budgets, overseeing treasury and working in investor relations, among other duties.
“I joined Warwick at a time when the company was pivoting from a startup to a multibillion-dollar entity. My prior experience with rapidly growing companies and the lessons learned were invaluable from both a financial and organizational viewpoint as our team navigated this transition,” he says.
Goal: He wants Warwick to “continue generating attractive returns across market cycles, while also expanding our investor community.”
To that end, he says, “Forming and leading our midstream and marketing efforts has been one of my most challenging projects to date. It is a very complicated side of the business and there was a steep learning curve. To succeed, I found the best and most knowledgeable midstream people in the industry and learned all I could from them.”
Midstream is pretty busy in the private-equity realm. Blad said that specifically at Warwick, “significant value for our upstream investors” has been generated through midstream and marketing efforts, with an edge provided by “diverse ownership of data and data-driven, rigorous, real-time analytics.”
On industry: “The energy industry is constantly changing and evolving due to the political climate, world dynamics, technological changes, and environmental and regulatory considerations. Staying ahead of these changes and evolutions can give you and your company a big competitive advantage.”
Advice for young professionals: “Accept any opportunity or challenge presented, even if you feel uncomfortable, because that typically is when the learning and rewards will be the greatest. Never question your abilities when your superiors see something within you that maybe you have yet to recognize within yourself.”
Blad is a certified public accountant and a member of the National Society of Compliance Professionals, the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, and the Natural Gas and Energy Association of Oklahoma.