Genel Energy's chairman and co-founder Tony Hayward will leave the company in June and will be replaced by another industry veteran, Stephen Whyte, as the Kurdistan-focused oil company looks to regain footing after significant reserve downgrades.
“Genel has operated in a very tough environment in recent years but I believe the company has renewed momentum and significant opportunities in the portfolio,” Whyte said in a statement. “The fall in oil price impacted the entire industry, and that, coupled with the impact of the war against ISIS, put pressure on the finances of the already squeezed Kurdistan Regional Government. As the environment now improves, I look forward to working with the Board to ensure that Genel has the best possible strategy for the future.”
Whyte is a former executive with oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and afterwards with BG Group.
Currently, Whyte is also chairman of London-listed Sound Energy, which holds exploration permits in Morocco and Italy. He will join the board as non-executive director and chairman designate with immediate effect, the company said.
Hayward, the 59 year-old former chief executive of BP from 2007 until resigning in 2010 following the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster, bought Genel with British financier Nat Rothschild in 2011 with the aim of developing prospects in Iraqi Kurdistan and Africa at a time when oil prices stood above $100 per barrel.
The London-listed firm’s valuations have plummeted since the collapse of oil price, failed exploration campaigns in Africa, violence in Iraq and after twice slashing reserve estimates at its flagship Taq Taq field in Kurdistan.
Hayward remains Genel's 12th-largest shareholder with a 0.5 percent stake, now worth $1.86 million according to Thomson Reuters data.
Hayward, who acted as Genel's chief executive until 2015 and is also the chairman of commodity trading and mining group Glencore, will not receive any severance package beyond his salary, a company spokesman said.
He will retire from the board at the conclusion of the annual general meeting on June 6.