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It was during this period that Pickens led Mesa's successful acquisitions of Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco.
These as well as other deals placed Pickens at the center of controversy during the 1980s.
He was also involved in the creation of the United Shareholders Association (USA), which from 1986–1993 attempted to influence the governance of several large companies.
He graduated from Oklahoma State with a degree in geology in 1951.
Following his graduation, Pickens was employed by Phillips Petroleum. By 1981, Mesa had grown into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world.
In 2006, Pickens earned 0 million from his equity in the two funds and 0 million from his share of the 20% fees applied to fund profits.
In 2007, Pickens earned .7 billion, as BP Capital Equity Fund grew by 24% after fees, and the then 0 million Capital Commodity fund grew 40%, thanks to, among others, large positions in the stocks of Suncor Energy, Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum.
He was a very well-known takeover operator and corporate raider during the 1980s.