Tag Archives: CEO

Leadership changes at US Well Services

US Well Services Nyx Clean Fleet® Frac Unit

Kyle O’Neil, CFO of US Well Services, has been promoted to CEO, replacing co-founder, Joel Broussard, who becomes non-executive Chairman. Josh Shapiro, currently VP of Finance, is promoted to CFO.



Poor financial performance

US Well Services is a struggling pressure pumping company that has its head office in the Galleria area of Houston.  The company was founded in 2012 and it struggled even before it was taken public for $274 million by a SPAC in November 2018. In early 2017, the company had completed an out-of-court restructuring that resulted in $118 million of debt being converted to equity.

Mr. O’Neil was appointed CFO when the business went public and joined from TCW Direct Lending, the main equity shareholder.

The company’s unique selling point was that it had patented all-electric hydraulic fracturing which uses less fuel and generates less emissions than conventional diesel fleets. At the time of going public, it had 11 fracking fleets, including two that were electric-powered. It had plans to add five more electric units.

As of May 2021, the company still had 11 fleets, though five were electric. The company has since sold off its diesel units to become a pure-play electric fracking company. It is currently building four of its next generation units and will put them into service later this year.

As of December 2021, the company had negative shareholders’ equity of $129 million and debt of $172 million. The current stock price of USWS is 91 cents. The market cap is $64 million.

In with the new…

Mr. O’Neil will receive a base salary of $540,000 and was granted 600,000 deferred stock units that will vest over three years. He also received a performance stock award worth $650,000, that vests under certain conditions.

Josh Shapiro, the new CFO, joined the company in March 2019. Prior to that, he worked at Piper Sandler as an investment banker. His new base salary will be $400,000.

…Out with the old

Mr Broussard will receive a severance of $950,000, to be paid in three instalments over the next 18 months. He also received 1.1 million restricted stock units. Half vests in 6 months, the rest in 18 months.

The company also announced that Matt Bernard had resigned as Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. Bernard was also the CFO between 2015-2018.  Mr. Bernard isn’t receiving any severance. However, he has signed a consulting agreement that will pay him $13,417 monthly. The agreement can be terminated by either party with 30 days notice.

SEC filing – management changes

 

Long-serving Houston REIT CEO fired for cause

[UPDATE 02-28-22 The day before the original posting James Mastandrea filed for divorce from his wife, Christine. On Feb 9, Ms. Mastandrea was appointed COO. On Feb 23, Mr. Mastandrea filed a lawsuit in Harris County for wrongful termination, He is suing his wife, and the new CEO, amongst others].

Whitestone REIT has terminated, with cause, James Mastandrea from his position as Chairman and CEO of the company. David Holeman, the current CFO is appointed CEO. In turn, Scott Hogan, currently Vice President, Controller, becomes the CFO.



Whitestone has its head office in the Westchase area and is a shopping center REIT (real estate investment trust), with properties primarily in Houston and Phoenix. It has a market capitalization of $508 million.

The company said that an independent internal investigation found that Mr. Mastandrea’s conduct to be in violation of his employment agreement and inconsistent with Company standards and responsibilities of the CEO. They also stated that his termination is not related to Whitestone’s operating performance, financial condition or financial reporting.

Mr. Mastandrea, 77, has been the CEO since 2006 and has a base salary of $600,000. Because he was fired for cause, he will only receive accrued and unpaid base compensation.

Christine Mastandrea

Interestingly, the press release and SEC filing makes no mention of his wife, Christine, who is also an Executive Officer of the company. Presumably, she is still employed in her role as Executive VP of Corporate Strategy (base salary $300,000).

2016 Transaction

Back in 2016, Whitestone sold 14 non-core properties for $84 million to Pillarstone Capital REIT, which is a private company that James Mastandrea set up for the transaction. Mr. Mastandrea is still the beneficial owner of 78% of this REIT. John Dee, the COO of Whitestone, is also a beneficial owner of Pillarstone and acts as the latter’s CFO. The transaction was approved by a special committee of independent trustees. Even so, in my opinion, it is not a good look for a public company. Pillarstone has since disposed of six of the properties.

New officers

Mr. Holeman joined the company as its CFO in 2006 and was previously the CFO of Gexa Energy. Mr. Hogan joined in 2008 having previously been the Controller at Gexa Energy.

New compensation arrangements for Mr. Holeman and Mr. Hogan have yet to be determined.

SEC filing – Whitestone CEO

 

 

 

Stabilis Solutions appoints new CEO

Stabilis Solutions has appointed Westy Ballard as its new CEO, replacing Jim Reddinger. In addition, the company founder and executive chairman, Casey Crenshaw, will become non-executive chairman of the Board.



Stabilis is based in West Houston and is a small-scale producer and distributor of Liquified Natural Gas. It went public in July 2019 when it completed a reverse takeover of another Houston company, AETI, but was delisted four months later for not having enough publicly-held shares. It was finally relisted in April 2021.

Westy Ballard was previously the CFO at Superior Energy Services, a Houston-based oilfield services company. Superior was publicly-traded until it filed for bankruptcy in December 2020. It exited in February 2021 and Mr. Ballard left six weeks later. As an aside, Superior today announced that it has removed the interim tag off CFO James Spexarth.

Mr. Ballard will receive a base salary of $500,000.

Mr. Reddinger, joined the company in 2013 as CFO and was appointed CEO in November 2018. He will continue to receive his salary of $500,000 until the end of the year. His restricted stock units will also vest (market value $3.3 million).

SEC filing – Stabilis CEO

Drilling contractor replaces CEO and CFO

Credit: Marine Traffic

Valaris, the offshore drilling contractor that exited bankruptcy proceedings in April 2021, has changed out its CEO and CFO. Thomas Burke, CEO since April 2019, has stepped down, to be replaced by interim CEO Anton Dibowitz. Jon Baksht, CFO since June 2019, is replaced by interim CFO Darin Gibbins.



Valaris has its corporate offices in London, though most of its management are (or were) based in Houston. The company was formerly known as Ensco. It acquired Pride International in 2011 and Rowan in 2019, at which point it changed its name to Valaris.

Valaris entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2020 and exited with $7.1 billion of debt converted to equity. It currently has a market capitalization of $1.9 billion.

CEO severance

Mr. Burke had a base salary of $855,000. He will receive a severance of 2 times base salary ($1.7 million), plus 2 times average bonus or target bonus (110% of base or $1.88 million), plus a pro-rated target bonus for 2021 ($0.6 million). That’s $4.2 million in total.

Mr. Burke was the CEO of Rowan, prior to its merger with Ensco. After he was appointed CEO in April 2019, he received a cash bonus in 2019 of $3.9 million, including $3.0 million as a result of meeting cost reduction targets following the merger. From April 2020 until June 2021, quarterly cash bonuses were paid out in lieu of stock options. As a result Mr. Burke earned another $4.7 million for 2020. The 2021 bonuses paid out have not yet been disclosed.

The company also incurred $0.4 million in overseas allowances in 2019 for Mr. Burke in respect of his move from Houston to London. That includes housing, child tuition and tax equalization.

Mr. Burke will continue to serve on the Board of Managers of Saudi Aramco Rowan Offshore Drilling, the company’s 50/50 joint venture with Saudi Aramco. He will receive an annual retainer of $150,00 for this role.

CFO Severance

Interim CEO Anton Dibowitz currently serves on the newly-constituted Board of Directors and was formerly the CEO of Seadrill.

Mr. Baksht had a base salary of $550,000. He will receive a severance of 2 times base salary ($1.1 million), plus 2 times target annual bonus (85% of base or $935,000), plus a pro-rated target bonus for 2021 ($312,000). That’s $2.35 million.

Mr. Baksht received cash bonuses of $3 million in 2020. The company also incurred $0.4 million in overseas allowances for Mr. Baksht in 2019 as well.

Interim CFO Darin Gibbins joined Rowan in 2006 and is currently the VP of Investor Relations and Treasurer. He will receive a annual salary of $375,000.

SEC filing – Valaris CEO and CFO change

Senior management changes at seismic company

MIND Technology, a provider of seismic equipment, based in The Woodlands, has announced changes to its senior management. Guy Malden, Co-CEO and Executive VP of Marine Operations will retire at the end of the year. Rob Capps, Co-CEO and CFO, will become sole CEO. Mark Cox, currently the Chief Accounting Officer, steps up to CFO.



The company was formed in 1987 by Billy Mitcham and was originally called Mitcham Industries. It went public in 1995 and had its head office in Huntsville. Mr. Mitcham was CEO until he died in September 2015. Four days prior, Messrs. Malden and Capps had been appointed co-COOs. After the death of Mr. Mitcham, they were appointed co-CEOs.

The name change and head office move to The Woodlands occurred in 2019. The company has revenues of $21 million and a market capitalization of $27 million. MIND started out as a lessor of seismic equipment but, in recent years, has moved into manufacturing. Last year, it decide to exit the leasing business completely, with the resulting closure of offices in Calgary, Bogota and Budapest.

Mr. Capps, 67, has been CFO since 2006. Mr. Cox, 61, joined the company in February 2017. Prior to that, he spent 7 years at Key Energy Services, where he was (at different times) the Controller and VP of Tax. He also worked at BJ Services for 18 years.

The Board has not yet determined whether to make any changes to the compensation of Mr. Capps or Mr. Cox.

MIND stands for Motivate, Innovate, Navigate, Discover

 

SEC filing – Mind Technology management changes

McDermott CEO steps down after overseeing disastrous acquisition

David Dickson, the CEO of McDermott International, has resigned with immediate effect. Non-executive director, Lee McIntire becomes the interim CEO. Mr. McIntire joined the Board in July 2020 and was the CEO of CH2M Hill, a global engineering services company from 2006 to 2014.



Mr. Dickson had been the CEO since December 2013. He presided over the disastrous acquisition of CB&I in May 2018 for $4.1 billion. Cost overruns on some major projects led to a $2.1 billion write down in goodwill 7 months after acquisition. McDermott filed for bankruptcy in January 2020 and exited 6 months later, having eliminated $4.6 billion of debt.

In April 2021, a judge in the Southern District allowed a class action lawsuit against McDermott and Mr. Dickson to continue. The plaintiffs allege that CB&I hid $1 billion of cost overruns at the time of acquisition though Mr. Dickson told investors that McDermott had performed significant due diligence and priced in potential risks. You can read the judge’s opinion here.

Bonuses for Mr. Dickson

The company is now private so it does not have to disclose the terms of Mr. Dickson’s departure. When the company exited Chapter 11, it was obliged to negotiate a new severance and change-of-control agreement with the executive management team. Mr Dickson’s old contract would have paid 250% of his base salary of $1.1 million and target bonus.

When the company filed for bankruptcy in January 2020, the company filed an employee retention plan that suggested a target bonus for Mr. Dickson of $6.3 million in 2020 (max bonus could have been $12.6 million). Again as the company is private, we don’t know how much Mr. Dickson was paid. 3 months prior to filing, Mr Dickson was awarded $3.375 million in cash bonuses.

Executive management turnover

Most of the executive management team that was at the company when it exited Chapter 11 have now left;

  • Chris Krummel, appointed CFO in Nov 2019 – replaced by Dennis Kelleher in March 2021.
  • John Freeman, Chief Legal Officer – replaced by Rachel Clingman (ex Noble) in April 2021.
  • Brian McLaughlin, Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Tosha Perkins, HR – duties absorbed by Gentry Brann (Senior VP, People, Culture & Communications).
  • Linh Austin, VP Middle East & North Africa – duties absorbed by Tareq Kawash.
  • Ian Prescott, VP Asia Pacific – replaced by Mahesh Swaminathan in April 2021.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mcdermott-announces-leadership-change-301307052.html

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