Tag Archives: CEO

E&P company to move senior management to London as CEO steps down

Vantage Jackup rig – offshore Gabon

Cary Bounds, CEO has stepped down as CEO of Vaalco Energy. He will be replaced by non-executive director, George Maxwell, who resides in London.



Vaalco is based in the Westchase area of Houston and has a market capitalization of $130 million. Its main revenue is from offshore Gabon in West Africa. It also has an undeveloped block in offshore Equatorial Guinea. So, the CEO being based in London makes sense.

Last month, the company announced that CFO Elizabeth Prochnow would be retiring and that it would be conducting a search for her replacement. The new CFO will also be based in London. For now, it appears the head office will remain in Houston as most of the shareholders are based in the US.

Mr. Maxwell joined the Board last year. He has worked for both E&P companies with African operations (Eland Oil & Gas, Addax Petroleum) and oilfield service companies (ABB Oil & Gas). He’s also worked in Nigeria, Geneva and Houston. Mr. Maxwell will receive a base salary of $450,000.

Mr. Bounds had been CEO since December 2016. He leaves with a cash severance of $1,164,500 and $95,000 for attorney fees. He also exercised his stock appreciation rights and employee stock options, making $1.5 million in profit.

SEC filing – Vaalco CEO

CEO and CFO of Superior Energy leave with large severances

The CEO and CFO of Superior Energy Services have left the company with large severances just six weeks after the company exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy.



Superior, based in downtown Houston, announced back in September 2020 that it intended to file for a pre-packaged bankruptcy. It did not actually file until December. The company converted $1.3 billion of debt into equity as part of the restructuring.  At the time of filing, the company had negative shareholders’ equity of $250 million. The stock of the company had previously been delisted because the negative equity breached NYSE listing standards.

Overpriced Acquisition

The company’s debt problem stems all the way back to October 2011 when it agreed to buy Complete Production Services for $2.9 billion. It paid $553 million in cash and issued stock for the rest. As part of the deal financing, in December 2011, it issued $800 million of unsecured senior notes, due 2021, to repay $650 million of debt that Complete owed. The other $500 million of notes were also, effectively, issued in 2011, though they were refinanced in 2017.

Severance

David Dunlap had been CEO since 2010. He leaves with a payment of $3.7 million. This represents two times base salary plus target annual bonus plus pro-rated target annual bonus for 2021.

Westy Ballard, who was appointed the CFO in March 2018, receives $1.7 million on the same terms as Mr. Dunlap.

Cash retention bonuses

Prior to the filing in September 2020, the old Board paid cash retention bonuses (as advances) to Mr. Dunlap ($3.1 million) and Mr. Ballard ($1.1 million).  Today’s filing does not make clear whether the severance payments are in addition to the retention bonuses or instead of them. Unfortunately, the company didn’t file the waiver and release agreements that would have cleared this up.

Michael McGovern, the newly-appointed Chairman of the Board, was appointed the interim CEO, while the company conducts a search. James Spexarth, the Chief Accounting Officer, becomes interim CFO.

SEC filing – Superior Energy CEO CFO exit

 

 

MRC Global appoints new CEO

MRC Global has appointed Rob Saltiel as its new CEO. He replaces Andrew Lane, who announced plans to retire in May 2020. Mr. Lane has been the CEO since 2008.

MRC is a global distributor of pipes, valves and fittings to all segments of the energy industry (E&P, midstream including gas utilities, and downstream). The company, formerly known as McJunkin Red Man, was founded 100 years ago and has its headquarters in downtown Houston. It went public in 2012 and has a market capitalization of $778 million.



Mr. Saltiel was formerly the CEO of Key Energy Services.  He was in that role for just 16 months, leaving in December 2019, just ahead of a bankruptcy filing. He did, however, leave with a $2.5 million severance. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Atwood Oceanics from 2009 to 2017.

Mr. Saltiel will receive a base salary of $825,000. He also receives $1.65 million in restricted stock units that will vest over three years and the same amount in performance stock units. These will vest after three years, subject to the performance of the stock price.

Mr. Lane will receive the equivalent of his pro-rated annual salary ($900,000) through the end of the year, his original planned retirement date. Instead of a severance payment, the Board awarded Mr. Lane 600,000 restricted stock units worth almost $6 million.

Kelly Youngblood is the CFO of MRC. He was appointed in September 2019.

SEC filing – MRC Global new CEO

Amplify Energy appoints new senior management

Martin Willsher, the CFO of Amplify Energy, has been appointed CEO. He had been the interim CEO since April 2020 when predecessor Ken Mariani retired. Jason McGlynn, currently VP of Business Development, has been appointed CFO.



Amplify Energy was formed in 2019 from the all-stock merger of Tulsa-based Midstates Petroleum and what was Memorial Production Partners. The business focuses on low-decline, mature assets, mainly in the Mississippian Lime formation in Oklahoma and in East Texas/North Louisiana. It has its head office in downtown Houston.

Amplify has debt of $270 million and only $4 million of equity. Therefore it is concentrating on controlling costs and generating cash to pay down the debt.

Mr. Willsher joined Memorial Production Partners in March 2012 as its Director of Strategic Planning. His base salary will remain at $350,000.

Mr. McGlynn joined Midstates in 2013 as its VP of Strategic Planning, Investor Relations and Treasury.  He will receive a base salary of $290,000.

The company also announced a new chairman. Christopher Hamm, who has been on the Board since August 2019, takes over from David Proman, who will remain on the Board.

SEC filing – Amplify Senior Management

CEO departs oilfield services company

Holli Ladhani has left her role as CEO of Select Energy Services. She is replaced by Chairman and former CEO John Schmitz.



The company, which has its head office in the Galleria area, provides water management solutions to the oil and gas industry. It went public in early 2017 and acquired Rockwater later that year for $620 million in an all-stock transaction.

In the first quarter of 2020, it wrote off all $267 million of goodwill associated with that transaction. The company has a market capitalization of $422 million. Unusually, as of September 2020, the company had cash on hand of $185 million and no debt.

Prior to the Select/Rockwater merger in November 2017, Mr. Schmitz was the CEO of Select and Ms. Ladhani was the CEO of Rockwater. After the deal closed, Mr. Schmitz became executive Chairman.

Ms. Ladhani joined Rockwater as CFO in 2011 and became CEO in May 2015. Prior to that, she  had been the CFO of Dynegy.

Ms. Ladhani will receive a cash severance of $3.2 million. That appears to be 2x base salary ($725,000) plus 2x target bonus ($725,000) plus her earned bonus for 2020.

SEC filing – Select Energy CEO transition

CEO at struggling LNG company steps down

Meg Gentle has stepped down as CEO of Tellurian. She has been replaced by Octavio Simões. He joined the company in 2019 and was most recently its VP of Marketing and Business Development. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Sempra LNG & Midstream.



The current chairman of Tellurian is Charif Souki. He was a co-founder of Cheniere and its CEO from 2002 until he was forced out in 2015.  He formed Tellurian in 2016 with a plan to build a LNG terminal in Louisiana called the Driftwood Project.

Ms. Gentle has been the CEO since August 2016 and, prior to that, spent 12 years at Cheniere. No reason was given for her departure but it appears to be related to the stalled progress on the Driftwood Project. For the 2019 financial year, the Board did not give bonuses to Ms. Gentle and most other senior executives because the company failed to achieve ‘Final investment decision’ (FID) on the project. In other words, they didn’t secure enough firm long-term contracts with customers to allow construction to start.

Petronet pulls out

In early November, Petronet of India decided not to invest in the project. They had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tellurian back in September 2019 to take a $2.5 billion stake in the company. The MOU was announced during the visit to Houston by Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister.

The stock price of Tellurian was around $8 until doubts about the Petronet deal began to surface in February. It is currently $1.49.

Severance

Ms. Gentle will continue to receive her annual salary of $721,000 through December 2021. She was also get a future lump sum of $721,000. She also retains 3.25 million shares of restricted stock, other options and awards that will vest upon FID. These could be worth up to $21 million.

Mr Simões will receive a base salary of $725,000.

SEC filing – Tellurian CEO

Energy CEO rehired after 5-year SEC ban

Houston American Energy has rehired John Terwilliger as its new CEO. In April 2015, Mr Terwilliger was banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).



Houston American has a market capitalization of $10 million. It has working interests in four wells in Texas and Louisiana as well as some undeveloped acreage in Columbia. It went public in 2006. Mr Terwilliger is the largest single shareholder, owning 13.6% of the common stock

In August 2014, the SEC announced charges against the company and Mr Terwilliger. The charges alleged that, back in 2009, Mr Terwilliger claimed that a concession in Columbia was worth more than $100 per share. The SEC alleged that the valuation was wildly inflated and not based on any technical evaluation. During this time, the stock price rose from $4 to $20 and the company raised $13 million in a stock offering. The operator eventually drilled three dry wells and the concession produced no oil.

Shortly before a trial was due to start in January 2015, the parties settled. Without admitting or denying liability, the company paid a penalty of $400,000 and Mr Terwilliger agreed to resign as CEO and pay a penalty of $150,000.

Mr Terwilliger founded Houston American in 2001. At the time, he was also the founder and CEO of Moose Oil and Gas. Moose entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2002. The bankruptcy trustee later alleged that Mr Terwilliger diverted funds from Moose to pay for the start-up legal and professional fees of Houston American. This case was also settled without admitting or denying liability.

 

SEC filing – Terwilliger CEO

Medical device start-up appoints new CEO

Soliton has appointed Brad Hauser as its new CEO, replacing Dr Chris Capelli, who becomes Chief Science Officer. The company is a medical device start-up that has its head office near Bellaire.



The company uses technology licensed from MD Anderson Cancer Center. Its main device uses rapid pulses of designed acoustic shockwaves to disrupt cellular and subcellular structures. The company believes that the technology can be used for tattoo removal, cellulite reduction and fibrotic scar treatment. As yet, the company has not recorded any revenue.

The company went public in February 2019, raising $11 million at $5 per share.  It subsequently raised another $35 million in June at $8.30 per share.  The current share price is $7.12.

Mr Hauser has been a non-executive director of the company since June 2018. His day job was the Vice President, R&D and General Manager for CoolSculpting, a technology that reduces fat by non-surgical methods. CoolSculpting was developed  by Zeltiq Aesthetics, which was acquired by Allergan for $2.4 billion in 2017.

Mr Hauser will receive a base salary of $475,000. He will also receive a restricted stock grant of 200,000 shares that will vest over four years.

Dr Capelli will maintain his current salary of $450,000 in his new role.

SEC filing – Soliton CEO

 

Weatherford appoints new CEO

Weatherford has appointed Girish Saligram as its new CEO, effective October 12, 2020. He replaces Mark McCollum, who left abruptly in June.

Mr Saligram is currently the COO at Exterran Corporation, a Houston-based public company. Prior to joining Exterran in 2016, he spent 20 years at GE. His last role there was as General Manager, Downstream Products and Services.



Compensation package

Mr Saligram will receive;

  • a base salary of $825,000 (a $200,000 raise on his role at Exterran).
  • a long-term cash incentive award of $3.5 million that will vest over 3 years.
  • a sign-on cash bonus of $400,000
  • $400,000 in restricted stock units that will vest over 3 years
  • $400,000 in performance stock units that will vest, depending on the share price.

In the event of a termination without cause, Mr Saligram will receive severance of one times base salary and target bonus (125% of base salary). If the termination is the result of a change of control, he will receive two times base and target bonus.

Once Mr Saligram starts, Karl Blanchard, the current interim CEO, will return to his former role of COO. Keith Jennings, the new CFO, started at the beginning of September.

Post-bankruptcy woes

Weatherford filed for bankruptcy in July 2019 and emerged on December 13, 2019. Debt was reduced from $8.0 billion to $2.2 billion with the bondholders owning 94% of the equity of the newly reorganized company.

At the end of August, the company issued $500 million in new notes due 2024 at 8.75% interest. The company used those proceeds to pay off a US-based credit agreement that was only entered into in December 2019. Due to the pandemic, the company faced a declining collateral base but Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank, the agents for the credit facility, refused to discuss any material covenant modifications.

SEC filing – Weatherford CEO appointment

CEO out at Houston E&P company

Darrin Henke has been appointed the new CEO at Penn Virginia, replacing John Brooks, who had been the CEO since August 2017.

Penn Virginia has its head office in west Houston and has acreage in the Eagle Ford basin. The company was founded in 1882 in Philadelphia and began life leasing coal properties. In the 1980’s it acquired oil and gas companies and later spun off the coal operations. The company went bankrupt in 2016 and exited a few months later, having eliminated $1.1 billion in debt. As part of the restructuring, it moved its head office to Houston.



Takeover by Denbury

In October 2018, Denbury Resources announced it would buy Penn Virginia for $1.7 billion, including $400 million in cash. The deal collapsed in March 2019, as major shareholders of Penn Virginia thought the deal undervalued the company (oops!). Penn Virginia currently has a market capitalization of $157 million (and debt of $563 million). Denbury filed for bankruptcy last month.

Current activity

In April, the company elected to suspend all drilling and completions operations. In June it resumed such operations with the completion of three wells drilled but not completed. The company also took out PPP loans of over $1 million, but elected to pay them back, rather than seek forgiveness.

Compensation

Mr Henke joins from Gary Petroleum, a private E&P company, where he was CEO for almost five years. Prior to that, he worked for Encana for 11 years. His base salary will be $500,000. Mr Henke was also granted 115,000 restricted stock units (worth over $1 million). 50% will vest over three years, the rest dependent on performance.

Mr Brooks, who joined the company in 2002, will receive a lump-sum payment of $690,000 (1.5 times base salary). He will also get a pro-rated bonus for 2020 (for reference, thee 2019 bonus paid was over $400,000). 34,000 restricted stock units also vest, worth over $350,000.

In November 2019, the company replaced its CFO.

SEC filing – Penn Virginia CEO