Occidental Petroleum (‘Oxy’) has promoted Sunil Mathew to be its new CFO. He replaces Rob Peterson, who has been appointed Executive Vice President of Occidental Chemical (‘OxyChem’).
Oxy has its head office in Greenway Plaza in Houston and has a market capitalization of $56 billion.
Mr. Mathew joined the company in 2004 in Qatar and moved to the US three years later. He is currently the VP of Strategic Planning, Analysis and Business Development. He was promoted to this role in April 2020, the same time that Mr. Peterson was appointed CFO. Mr. Mathew holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering and a MBA.
Mr. Peterson joined OxyChem in 1996 and served as its President from 2014-2017. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a MBA.
Oxy plans to build 100 direct-air carbon capture plants by 2035. In his new role, Mr. Peterson will be in charge of operational readiness for Oxy’s first such plant, which is located in West Texas.
At the time of their appointments in April 2020, Oxy was under a lot of stress. It had acquired Anadarko for $36 billion in August 2019. But the debt it took on and the collapse in oil prices due to Covid, led to activist investor, Carl Icahn, calling it ‘one of the worst disasters in financial history’. Mr. Peterson was appointed CFO a week after Oxy and Mr. Icahn reached a truce.
How times have changed. Oxy was the best performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2022 and it has halved its long-term debt from $39 billion to $19 billion. Last week, the stock of Icahn Enterprises plunged 30% after the company disclosed that the SEC was investigating the company following allegations by a short seller that the company was inflating the value of its investments.