Tag Archives: CFO

Petrochemical giant hires new CFO

LyondellBasell (market cap $29 billion) has hired Michael McMurray as its new CFO. He replaces Thomas Aebischer, who announced in May 2019 that he planned to retire at the end of the year.

Mr McMurray joins from Owens Corning (market cap $7 billion) where he had worked for the last eleven years, the past seven of which have been as CFO.

Owens Corning is based in Toledo, Ohio. However Mr McMurray is no stranger to Houston or petrochemicals. Prior to joining Owens Corning, he spent 21 years at Shell, holding such roles as VP of Shell Capital, global treasurer for Shell Chemicals and Americas Finance Manager for the Lubricants business. Mr McMurray is also a non-executive director of Flowserve, a Dallas-based pumps and valve manufacturer.

Mr McMurray will receive a base salary of $800,000 and a sign-on bonus of $750,000, payable on January 1, 2020. He also received an equity grant of $3.75 million that will vest over three years.

The base salary for Mr Murray will be the fourth highest among Houston-area public company CFOs. You can see the complete list here. Check out who is also fourth highest, the answer will surprise you.

Mr McMurray had a base salary of $645,000 at Owens Corning.



For sale midstream company appoints new CFO

Noble Midstream Partners has appointed Thomas Christensen as the CFO of the General Partner. He was appointed interim CFO in July 2019 and has been the Chief Accounting Officer since August 2016.

Noble Midstream has a market cap of $960 million and is based in NW Houston. It was spun off from its parent company, Noble Energy, in September 2016.  That was when MLP partnerships going public was in vogue.

Noble Midstream Partners still gets 57% of its total revenues from Noble Energy, who still own a 45% partnership interest in them.

According to a report in Bloomberg in early August, The Williams Companies, based in Tulsa, and New York PE firm, Global Infrastructure Partners, are working on a possible offer for the company.

The previous CFO, John Bookout resigned to pursue another opportunity in July. He was followed out the door by CEO, Terry Gerhart, and COO, John Nicholson, the following month. They resigned on August 9 to ‘pursue other business opportunities’. Brent Smolik, currently the COO of Noble Energy, was appointed CEO of the General Partner.

SEC filing – Noble appointment of CFO

Oilfield Products Distributor hires new CFO

Kelly Youngblood has been appointed as the next CFO of MRC Global, an oilfield products distributor, based in downtown Houston.

Mr Youngblood replaces Jim Braun, who announced last month that he intends to retire in March 2020. He has been the CFO since November 2011. Mr Youngblood will join MRC right away but won’t take over the CFO position until Mr Braun retires.

MRC Global is the largest distributor of pipe, valve and fitting products and services to the energy and industrial markets. It went public in 2012 and was previously called McJunkin Red Man Holding Corporation. The company has revenues of $4 billion and a market capitalization of $1 billion.

Mr Youngblood joins from BJ Services, another oilfield services company, where he had been CFO since December 2017. Prior to that, he was the CFO of Diamond Offshore Drilling and the VP of Investor Relations at Halliburton.

BJ Services filed for an Initial Public Offering in July 2017 but withdrew its registration statement in March 2019.

Mr Youngblood will receive a base salary of $500,000 (same as Mr Braun). He will also receive a signing bonus of $380,000 (to be paid in two installments in 2020) and an initial equity long-term incentive award with a target value of $1.5 million (to vest over three years).

SEC filing – Youngblood appointment

Biotechnology company hires interim CFO

Salarius Pharmaceuticals has hired Mark Rosenblum as Interim CFO. He replaces Scott Jordan, who has been appointed Chief Business Officer.

Salarius is based in the Medical Center. The primary drug in its pipeline is one that treats Ewing sarcoma, a bone cancer that affects children and young adults. The company moved from Salt Lake City in 2016 after receiving a $19 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.  The company went public in July 2019 via a reverse takeover.

According to LinkedIn Mr Jordan is based in Chicago while Mr Rosenblum is based in Dallas. Mr Rosenblum has been working as a consultant to Salarius since February 2019. He has previously served as CFO of another biotech company, Advaxis.

Although he is described as the Interim CFO, Mr Rosenblum has converted from a consultant to an employee. He will be paid $265,000. He will also get a guaranteed bonus of $19,300 for 2019 and $14,500 for Q1 2020.

SEC filing – Salarius Rosenblum

CFO of Offshore Drilling Contractor resigns

Adam Peakes has resigned as CFO of Noble Corporation (NE) with immediate effect. The company is an offshore drilling contractor. It has its registered head office in London but its operational office is in Sugar Land.

The company has begun a search for a successor. In the interim, the accounting and Treasury teams will report directly to CEO Julie Robertson.

Mr Peakes joined the company in January 2017 from investment bank, Tudor Pickering Holt, where he was Managing Director and Head of OFS Investment Banking.

The company will pay Mr Peakes (who had a base salary of $450,000) a severance payment of $1 million. Just this February 2019, the company announced it would pay Mr Peakes a retention bonus of $900,000 with one half vesting in December 2020, and the balance in December 2021. Not clear why he has gone from hero to zero in a few short months.

As with other Noble executives, the employment contract of Mr Peakes only outlines termination payments in the event of a change of control. There appear to be no clauses with regard to termination without a change of control.

When he joined the company, the stock price was $7.25. It now trades at $1.89 (market cap $488 million).

Interestingly, Mr Peakes’ former employer was in the news this week. The week before Mr Peakes joined Noble, TPH announced it would merge with New York-based Perella Weinberg Partners.

This week it was announced that, one of the partners, Dan Pickering, is spinning off the energy asset management part of the combined firm into his own company, Pickering Energy Partners. Bobby Tudor and Maynard Holt will remain with the investment bank.

SEC filing – Noble Corp CFO departure


CFO steps up at offshore oilfield services company

Charles Njuguna, CFO of Deep Down, has been appointed CEO, replacing co-founder Ronald Smith, who is stepping down. The press release made no mention of a replacement CFO.

Deep Down focuses on complex deepwater oil and gas production system technologies and support services. It has its head office in Crosby, TX. It trades over-the-counter and has a market capitalization of $8 million.

Deep Down is notable for two things. One, it hasn’t made an operating profit since 2007. Two, it has been run for the benefit of executive management, rather than external shareholders, though this appears to be changing.

Mr Njuguna joined Deep Down in 2012. In 2015, he was appointed Business Manager to oversee all commercial activities and was appointed CFO in 2017. No details of Mr Njuguna’s new compensation were disclosed. As CFO, he has a salary of $250,000.

Smith consulting contract

Mr Smith is resigning, effective September 1, 2019. However, he has entered a consultancy contract that will pay him $41,769.80 a month from September to December 2019. Then from January 2020 through December 2021, he will be paid $15,000 a month.

In addition to his annual salary of $494,000 Mr Smith was also paid $19,291 for vacation not taken in 2018. Deep Down is the only company I’ve seen do this (Mr Njuguna was also paid $14,423 for vacation not taken in 2018).  Mr Smith also received a cash bonus of $13,000 for time spent outside the country on a customer project.

Smith’s wife also has a consulting contract

Mr Smith’s spouse and co-founder of the company, Mary Budrunas, was part of executive management until she retired in December 2016. However she entered into a 3-year agreement that pays her $17,500 per month for up to 60 hours of consulting a month. She remained on the Board of Directors until April 2019.

Two new independent Directors, David Douglas and Neal Goldman were appointed in April 2019, replacing Ms Budrunas and another director who had been on the Board since 2013.

SEC filing – Deep Down



CFO out at company that went public 5 months ago

Target Hospitality has replaced its CFO, Andy Aberdale, 5 months after going public via a reverse takeover. He has been replaced by Eric Kalamaras who was the CFO at American Midstream in Houston, until it was taken private on July 23, 2019.

Target transaction

The company is based in The Woodlands and was acquired by a Platinum Eagle, a blank check company for $1.3 billion. Target provides rental modular accommodation to the US oilfields but with premium catering and other added-value services. It has 20 facilities, including 14 in the Permian Basin. It is also an approved government vendor, supplying accommodation that houses asylum-seeking families.

There were actually two businesses acquired in the deal, Target Lodging and Signor Holdings, which are being consolidated together under the Target name and management. The Target business was acquired for $820 million, Signor for $491 million.

The business currently has a market cap of $575 million and an enterprise value of $956 million.

Aberdale severance package

Mr Aberdale had been the CFO since October 2010. The press release issued by the company stated that Mr Aberdale has decided to spend more time with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.  The separation agreement doesn’t give any indication that the decision was made by Mr Aberdale.

Mr Aberdale will receive

  • Severance pay of $400,000 (1 year’s salary)
  • 2019 annual bonus ($300,000)
  • Vesting of 25% of the stock options granted on May 21, 2019 (option price is $10.83)
  • Vesting of 25% of the restricted stock units granted on May 21, 2019 (value $33,000)

It should be noted that Mr Aberdale also received an $11 million cash bonus that was paid by the seller of the Target Lodging business for his role in building up and selling the business, so he can certainly afford to spend time with the family. He also owned a 4.8% stake in Target Lodging.

Kalamaras compensation

Mr Kalamaras will receive a base salary of $415,000 and a one-time sign-on bonus of $93,187. He will also receive an equity award worth $500,000. The base salary is a big raise from what he was making at American Midstream.

SEC filing – Target Hospitality CFO

Bankrupt E&P operator hires new CFO

Halcon Resources, which last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has hired Ragan Altizer as its new CFO. He replaces Quentin Hicks, who announced his intention to resign on July 9, just four months after being appointed to the role.

On August 9, Mr Hicks was appointed the CFO of Gulfport Energy, an onshore E&P operator with its head office in Oklahoma City. Mr Hicks replaced Keri Crowell. She left with a severance package of one year’s salary ($362,500) and a one-year consultancy contract worth $30,000 a month. Ms Crowell had been the CFO since January 2017.

Mr Altizer was previously the CFO of Ajax Resources, a private E&P operator that sold its assets to Diamondback Energy in October 2018. New Halcon CEO, Richard Little, was previously the CEO at Ajax.

Mr Altizer will receive a base salary of $350,000. He will also receive a guaranteed pro-rata bonus for 2019 of 100% of his base salary. Mr Altizer will also be eligible for equity awards in due course.

SEC filing – Halcon CFO

Houston drilling rig contractor hires new CFO

Pacific Drilling SA has hired Jim Harris, as its new CFO, replacing John Boots, whose departure was effective June 30, 2019.

Pacific Drilling is a deepwater drilling contractor with a fleet of 7 drillships.  The company is listed on the NYSE (market cap $621 million) and has its operational head office in west Houston. The holding company is registered in Luxembourg and technically, the company is a ‘foreign private issuer’.

The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2018. The company raised $1 billion in new debt and $500 million in equity. Part of this was used to pay off $1.2 billion of old debt. Another $1.85 billion of debt was converted into equity. Existing shareholders were wiped out.

As part of the exit from bankruptcy, the company appointed Bernie Woolford as its new CEO. He was previously with Noble Corporation, another offshore driller.

Jim Harris was formerly the CFO of Forum Energy Technologies from December 2005 to March 2018. He then became VP of Drilling and Subsea before leaving the company in April 2019. He started his career in the tax department of PricewaterhouseCoopers and also worked for Enron.

Outgoing CFO, John Boots, had been the CFO since August 2017. He originally joined Pacific in December 2009 as its Vice President and Treasurer.


SEC Filing – Pacific Drilling

CFO of struggling E&P company resigns after 4 months

[Update : 07-23-19 Halcon shares delisted by NYSE due to ‘abnormally low’ trading price]

Quentin Hicks, the CFO at Halcon Resources, has told the company that he is resigning. He will depart the company at a future date to be agreed between Mr Hicks and the company.

Halcon is based in downtown Houston and is engaged in exploration and production in the Delaware Basin. It has been struggling to avoid bankruptcy again. Its share price is currently $0.21. The company has a market cap of $33 million but has debt of $725 million.

Halcon originally filed for a pre-packaged bankruptcy agreement in 2016 where creditors wrote off $1.8 billion in debt in return for 96% of the common stock post-reorganization.

Mr Hicks became CFO on February 21, following the mass departure of CEO Floyd Wilson, CFO Mark Mize and VP Corporate Development Stephen Herod. He had joined the company in August 2012 as Director of Financial Planning.

CEO Wilson stepped down two weeks after activist shareholder, Fir Tree Capital Management, criticized Mr Wilson’s excessive compensation and use of a private jet for business travel ($0.9 million in 2018). Mr Wilson has since gone on to form a new E&P company, Falconer Oil & Gas.

After their departures, Mr Wilson received a cash severance payment of $4.8 million. Mr Mize $2 million while Mr Herod got $2.25 million. The sale of substantially all of the company’s assets during 2017 was treated as a change in control under their employment contracts.

Last month, the company hired Richard Little as its new CEO. He was previously the CEO of Ajax Resources before that company was acquired by Diamondback Energy in October 2018.

Halcon Resources – SEC filing