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Raymond Plank, former CEO of oil explorer Apache, dies at 96

Reuters  |  HOUSTON 

By Gary McWilliams

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Raymond Plank, who started and gas producer in 1954 with two friends and built the Houston-based company into a global company and financial innovator, died on Thursday in at 96, his family said.

Plank, a World War Two bomber pilot and graduate of Yale, began as a in helping wealthy investors with tax shelters in the and gas business.

Plank's son Roger said in an interview on Friday his father was picked to run one operation after warning investors they were being fleeced.

The company financed its drilling program through individual partnerships, but Plank kept looking for ways to make the financing more permanent, said. By 1981, he found a firm that helped fashion the first publicly-traded partnership, a financing method that has gained wide use.

"He'd just noodle things until he could get them done," said The idea took off after agreed in 1982 to sell Apache its U.S. exploration business for units in the partnership, he said.

Plank also founded Foundation, an artist-in-residence program on a 22,000-acre ranch in Ucross, Wyoming, that also was stitched together from tax shelters, said.

The ranch is best known as the place where partly wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ""

Known for his colorful and sometimes profane descriptions of rivals, Plank would tell investors that Apache was best at exploiting assets that the abandoned.

"He described us as pigs following cows through the corn field, picking up their leavings," said Tony Lentini, a former Apache "And behind us were the chickens."

Plank also was known for proposing "outlandish ideas to get people thinking," said Lentini. In the 1980s Apache found oil in the western desert of where there were no pipelines. Plank got the government to start a to move thousands barrels per day to market until a pipeline could be built.

"We remember Raymond as a visionary leader and a strong, passionate and caring man," said John J. Christmann, Apache's "His leadership, courage, generosity and integrity are central to the core values he instilled at Apache, and they continue to guide us today."

Plank is survived by six children, twelve grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

(Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 09:01 IST