Genel Energy co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild resigned, weeks after his founding-partner announced his departure from the loss-making Iraqi Kurdistan oil producer as it reshuffles its board to recover from a massive reserves downgrade.
Tony Hayward, co-founder and chairman of Genel said about Rothschild; “Despite a challenging external environment, the Company has made significant progress during his involvement, and Genel has been instrumental in the development of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s oil industry.”
Hayward will leave Genel after the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, when new Chairman Stephen Whyte will take the helm.
The two co-founders bought and listed Genel on the London Stock Exchange during a global commodity boom in 2011, with plans to make it a major oil explorer in Kurdistan and Africa.
But Genel's has tumbled, hit by two reserve downgrades of its main Taq Taq oil field in Kurdistan, failed exploration campaigns in Africa, political unrest in Iraq and a sharp drop in oil prices since 2014.
The majority of the board of Genel will now be made up of Turkish nationals after the company also announced the exit of non-executive director Simon Lockett.
“Board Committee memberships are under review and updates will be made when appropriate,” Genel said in a statement. Neither Rothschild nor Lockett will stand for re-election to the board.
Under chief executive Murat Ozgul, who took over from Hayward in 2015, Genel is focused on retrieving money it says it is owed by the Kurdistan Regional Government for oil it has sold and on finding a partner to develop two gas fields in the region, with the aim of linking them to neighboring Turkey.
Genel, whose board includes representative of its two largest shareholders which are both among Turkey's richest families, is in talks with Turkish state-backed energy firm TEC over developing the Bina Bawi and Miran fields.
Rothschild still owns a stake of around 7.9 percent in Genel, while Hayward remains its 12th-largest shareholder.