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Genel appoints new CEO, replacing Özgül

Apr 08, 2019
3 min read
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Genel Energy said it appointed Dr. Bill Higgs as chief executive officer, and as a member of the Board of Directors, with immediate effect. EsaIkaheimonen, chief financial officer, has also been appointed to the Board.

Dr. Higgs joined Genel as chief operating officer in October 2017, and has since led on the delivery and expansion of our Kurdistan Region of Iraq oil business. Having 30 years of global exploration, development and operations experience, he is a qualified geologist with extensive expertise in all engineering and other technical and commercial aspects of hydrocarbon development and production.

As well as being an executive director and chief operating officer for Ophir Energy plc and chief executive officer of Mediterranean Oil and Gas, he previously spent 23 years at Chevron across a number of global roles.

Murat Özgül will not stand for re-election at the Annual General Meeting, and has stepped down from the Board with immediate effect, Genel said.

He has taken up a transitional role as special adviser to the Board and will remain with the company until early 2020 to support key strategic initiatives, notably the progression of plans for the development of the Bina Bawi licence, where negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are continuing.

Özgül became CEO of Genel in July 2015, at a challenging time in both the oil industry as a whole and in the regional political situation. The company had net debt of c.$220 million and was owed a net trade receivable with the KRG of c.$378 million. Regular payments for oil exports began shortly thereafter, and the Receivable Settlement Agreement (RSA) was signed in August 2017. The RSA and continuing monthly payments have transformed the company and its financial position. As at 28

February 2019, Genel had a net cash position of $81 million.

Murat Özgül, special adviser to the Board: “It has been a pleasure to have worked with all of our stakeholders and everyone at Genel as CEO. I am delighted that the Company is in such a strong position and is generating sufficient cash flow from assets in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that Genel can both ramp up investment in growth, initiate a material and sustainable dividend policy, and still generate material free cash flow. I look forward to seeing Bill and the team deliver the tremendous potential in the portfolio, and working with him over the coming months.”

Stephen Whyte, chairman of Genel: “Murat has made an invaluable contribution to the development of Genel. He was integral to the signing of the Receivable Settlement Agreement, which transformed the company’s financial prospects, and we look forward to continue working with him as we progress the Bina Bawi licence.

Dr. Higgs was recruited by the Board as a potential successor to Murat, and has already made a tremendous contribution to our operations and the addition of further growth prospects. He is the right person to continue growing the company and delivering on our strategy, as we look to provide investors with a compelling proposition combining both growth and a material annual return.”

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