Kian Granmayeh, CFO of Tellurian, has resigned, effective March 10, 2023. Khaled Sharafeldin, the company’s Chief Accounting Officer, will serve as interim CFO.
[Update – One hour after the Tellurian announcement, another Houston company, Carriage Services, announced that it had hired Mr. Granmayeh as its CFO].
Mr. Granmayeh has been the CFO for 3 years. He began at Tellurian as a consultant to the CFO in January 2019 and was appointed as Director of Special Projects in July 2019 and Director of Investor Relations as month later. Prior to joining Tellurian, he worked at Apache.
Mr. Granmayeh will receive severance payments of $525,000, equivalent of one year’s salary. This will be paid over 12 months. He will forfeit all outstanding equity awards and long-term cash-based awards, except for 174,942 restricted stock units issued in January 2022. At that time they were valued at $3.38 each (or $591,304). The current share price is $1.49.
No details were given on what bonus, if any, Mr. Granmayeh received this year for 2022 performance. That will be disclosed in the annual proxy, to be filed next month.
Mr. Sharafeldin has served as the Chief Accounting Officer since January 2017. Prior to that, he worked at Cheniere as its Director of Internal Audit (correction – he was VP of Internal Audit)
Mr Souki’s margin calls
Since I wrote about the non-exec drama last month, the company has disclosed that CEO, Charif Souki, has had to sell more than 15.5 million shares (60% of his holding in Tellurian) to cover a 2017 real estate loan. This isn’t the first time Mr. Souki has had to sell shares to cover a margin call. In fact, shortly before Mr. Granmayeh’s initial appointment in 2020, he had to sell 18 million shares. Presumably, the loan is related to a ranch in Aspen that Mr. Souki owns. It covers 800 acres and 8 houses. It was originally put up for sale for $220 million in May 2020.
Currently, Tellurian is trying to build an LNG export plant in Driftwood, Louisiana. In September 2022, Shell canceled an agreement to buy 3 million metric tons a year. At the same time, Tellurian canceled a similar-sized deal with Vitol.
That leaves just one deal with Gunvor Singapore. That original deal included clauses that Tellurian had to have issued an unconditional notice to proceed to Bechtel, the EPC contractor for the facility by December 31, 2022 and that Tellurian had to have secured the necessary financing by the same date. That date has been extended twice, in one month increments to February 28, 2023. Gunvor and Tellurian can jointly agree on a new date. If there is no agreement, either party can terminate the deal. There has been no word on the current status.