Our leadership team is comprised of professionals with significant experience developing, marketing, financing, and operating LNG and CCS projects around the world.
Mr. Matthew Schatzman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Matthew (Matt) Schatzman was appointed Chief Executive Officer of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT) on February 1, 2018. Mr. Schatzman was subsequently elected Chairman of the Board of Directors effective June 4, 2019. He joined the company as President and member of the Board of Directors on September 18, 2017. Mr. Schatzman has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, including as Executive Vice President Global Energy Marketing and Shipping and member of the Group Executive Committee at BG Group where he was responsible for the company’s global marketing, trading and shipping activities for LNG, crude oil and natural gas. During his tenure at BG Group, Mr. Schatzman played a pivotal role in the success and growth of BG Group’s LNG business, transforming it into a global leader in flexible LNG supply and trading. Mr. Schatzman also held senior executive roles at Dynegy and started his career at Transco Pipeline, a subsidiary of Williams. In addition to managing an international portfolio of LNG, shipping, and commodity trading positions, Mr. Schatzman’s expertise extends to hedging, risk management and process improvement across a diverse portfolio of development and operating assets. Mr. Schatzman graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and is a member of the National Petroleum Council.
Mr. Brent Wahl
Chief Financial Officer
Brent Wahl was appointed Chief Financial Officer of NextDecade effective February 1, 2021. He joined the company as Senior Vice President, Finance, in June 2019. In his role as Chief Financial Officer, Wahl is responsible for NextDecade’s financing activities, financial management and accounting processes. He also oversees all financing activities related to NextDecade’s projects. Prior to joining NextDecade, Wahl was a Senior Managing Director and Head of Midstream Investment Banking for North America at Macquarie Capital. Wahl has more than 20 years of experience in the banking and energy industries, having also worked at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America. Wahl has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Mr. James MacTaggart
Chief Marketing Officer
James MacTaggart is Chief Marketing Officer of NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), and is based in Singapore. MacTaggart has over 25 years of experience delivering large and complex deals in the LNG and natural gas industry, working across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. He has executed long term LNG sale and purchase agreements supporting positive final investment decisions on four greenfield LNG projects. Before joining NextDecade, MacTaggart served more than 20 years with Shell in various marketing and trading positions, with his last role as General Manager of Shell’s Gas and LNG Markets business in Asia, India, and the Middle East. During his tenure, he also set up Shell’s gas trading business in India. MacTaggart completed his undergraduate studies in classical and modern Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and holds an M.B.A. with distinction from Cass Business School.
Ms. Vera De Brito de Gyarfas
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Vera de Gyarfas joined NextDecade as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in July 2021 and is responsible for all legal and contractual matters affecting NextDecade. De Gyarfas is a skilled corporate attorney with more than 28 years of experience in the areas of energy and natural resources, LNG, general corporate law, contract negotiations, negotiations with host governments, and mergers & acquisitions . Prior to joining NextDecade, de Gyarfas was a partner in Mayer Brown’s Houston office and a member of the Oil & Gas industry group. Previously, she was a partner at King & Spalding and worked with the firm for a total of eight years in the global transactions practice group. De Gyarfas was also a partner at Travieso, Evans, Arria, Rengel & Paz, a large Venezuelan law firm with a strong focus in general corporate, tax, labor, litigation, administrative, regulatory, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental areas. De Gyarfas was recognized as a 2016 Women in Energy Honoree by Texas Lawyer, is ranked in the Legal 500 2019 Power list as an expert in Mexico’s energy sector, and is ranked in Chambers Global 2020 for Energy and Natural Resources as an expert in the US for Venezuela. She was also recommended in Legal 500 Latin America 2018, and listed as a leading practitioner in the International Who’s Who of Oil and Gas Lawyers 2018. De Gyarfas holds a JD from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Venezuela), and a Master of Laws, from University of Houston. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is a frequent author and speaker on energy topics.
Mr. Paul Bruner
Senior Vice President, Operations
Paul Bruner was appointed Senior Vice President, Operations in August 2023. He joined NextDecade in September 2019 as Vice President, Operations. Bruner is responsible for pre-operations readiness and will become responsible for the asset management of the RGLNG facility as each train reaches substantial completion. He has over 3 decades of LNG operations management experience working at facilities around the world. Prior to his role at NextDecade, Bruner served as Asset Manager of Egyptian LNG (Egypt) and Queensland Gas Company (Australia) for BG Group. Prior to that, he was Production Manager for ConocoPhillips at Darwin LNG (Australia), held commissioning/startup roles at Atlantic LNG (Trinidad) and was in operations at Kenai LNG Plant for 15yrs. Bruner graduated from Bismarck State College in North Dakota.
Ms. Raquel Couri
Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration
Raquel Couri joined NextDecade in January 2018 and is a senior human resources executive with more than 15 years of international experience with a focus on the energy sector. Couri is responsible for resourcing the company through its various development stages, ensuring NextDecade remains an employer of choice for leading professionals in the energy industry. Prior to NextDecade, Couri was the Head of Human Resources for both BG Group’s Houston office and its Global Energy Marketing and Shipping business in locations across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Before moving to Houston, Couri led the human resources function for BG Group’s upstream asset division in Brazil. Couri has an Executive MBA in General Business Management from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and a B.A. in Psychology from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF).
Mr. Eric Garcia
Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer
Eric Garcia was appointed Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer in February 2022. He joined the company as Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer in July 2017. Garcia was previously an audit managing director with KPMG LLP, where he spent 15 years serving companies in the LNG, oil and gas, and power and utilities industries. Garcia received his BBA degree from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and New Mexico and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Mr. Ariel Handler
Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations
Ariel Handler was appointed Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations in August 2023. He joined NextDecade in March 2018 as Vice President, Finance and Market Analysis. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Commercial Structuring from February 2022 to August 2023 and as Senior Vice President, Finance and Market Analysis from August 2021 to February 2022. Prior to joining NextDecade, Handler served as Manager of Strategic Planning at Apache Corporation where he played a key role in developing Apache’s short- and long-term term financial and operational plans, capital allocation strategy, and portfolio and scenario analysis. Prior to his departure, Handler oversaw all of Apache’s planning activities in the Permian, Midcontinent (Scoop/Anadarko Basin), and Gulf Coast regions. Handler holds a B.A. degree with Honors in Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University.
Mr. David Keane
Senior Vice President, Policy & Corporate Affairs
David Keane joined NextDecade in March 2022 as the Senior Vice President, Policy & Corporate Affairs. David Keane has over 40 years of international business experience in the energy sector, recently retiring as President of Woodfibre LNG Limited. In his role as President of Woodfibre, Keane was accountable for the delivery of WLNG’s $2.0 billion liquefied natural gas export project in British Columbia, Canada, and was directly responsible for leading and building the LNG facility and creating the jobs, training and economic opportunities involved with the project. Prior to joining Woodfibre in October 2018, Keane served as the President and CEO of the British Columbia LNG Alliance, a trade association formed to promote the development of a robust LNG export industry in British Columbia that is safe and environmentally and socially responsible. Keane has held senior executive roles at BG Group plc serving as Vice President, Policy and Corporate Affairs for the Americas and Global LNG Region, and also served as Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Dynegy Europe. He is a retired helicopter pilot with the US Army. Keane is a cum laude graduate of Kansas State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Mr. Graham McArthur
Senior Vice President, Treasurer
Graham McArthur joined NextDecade as Senior Vice President, Treasurer in December 2022. Prior to joining NextDecade, McArthur was the Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Tellurian Inc. Prior roles include Chief Financial Officer of Venture Global LNG, Inc. and Vice President and Treasurer of Cheniere Energy, Inc. McArthur began his career in commercial banking and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Houston.
Mr. Michael Mott
Senior Vice President, Carbon Solutions
Michael R. Mott was appointed Senior Vice President, Carbon Solutions in February 2022. He joined the company as Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy in June 9, 2021. Prior to joining NextDecade, his previous roles included leadership positions working in start-up, scaled growth, and mature stage businesses in both domestic and international marketplaces. Most recently, Mott worked as Chief Financial Officer of LNG Limited from 2014 to 2020. Prior to his position at LNG Limited, he was employed by BG Group where he held a number of senior strategy, finance and operations roles leading business execution in BG’s Global LNG business in upstream, midstream and downstream businesses in the American hemisphere, and as Senior Vice President – Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) with responsibility for BG Group’s global workforce. From 1995 to 2003, Mott held progressively senior risk management and accounting roles for Dynegy Inc., becoming Senior Vice President – Chief Accounting Officer and Controller from 2001 to 2003. He spent thirteen years with Price Waterhouse LLP before joining Dynegy with a focus on multi-national energy majors as well as North American upstream independents. Mott earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Oklahoma. Mott is a certified public accountant in the State of Texas.
Mr. Alexander Thompson
Senior Vice President, Engineering & Construction
Alexander Thompson joined NextDecade in October 2018 and was appointed Senior Vice President, Engineering & Construction in August 2023. Prior to joining NextDecade, Thompson held multiple leadership positions within the energy industry, most recently as Project Manager of Fabrication for the >$37bn TCO Future Growth Expansion Project at KPJV Limited. Another significant accomplishment of Thompson was holding pivotal roles on the Gorgon LNG project for 8 years, contributing to the full cycle of the development of the project from FEED through to stable Operations. He has a proven track record of engineering and execution performed both in the home office as well as at the construction site in support of commissioning, start-up, and operations. Thompson holds a Master of Engineering Degree (1st Class Honors) in Control Systems Engineering with Business Management from the University of Warwick.