Oil Search says chief Keiran Wulff resigns

Oil Search, a partner in the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project, said on Monday managing director Keiran Wulff had resigned due to “health reasons.”

“Wulff has been managing a long-term medical condition which has recently deteriorated,” Oil Search said in a statement.

Oil Search chairman Rick Lee said that the company’s board entered into discussions with Wulff following the receipt of “recent concerns and complaints about his behaviour.”

Lee said the board considered that Wulff had “behaved in a manner inconsistent with the standards expected by the board in relation to his management style.”

He said the board “acknowledges the magnitude of the tasks undertaken by Wulff since his appointment as managing director in February 2020 and recognises the challenges that his recent health issues have had on him.”

Lee said this period saw “extreme challenges” including global lockdowns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

This includes a “plunge in oil prices, crisis measures to protect the company’s financial position and developing a clear strategy to steer a path to a sustainable future through the energy transition,” Lee said.

Oil Search “very well-positioned for the future”

Wulff thanked all Oil Search staff for their efforts, particularly since the pandemic began, as the company put in place strategies to safeguard its operations in PNG and Alaska.

He believes “the company is very well-positioned for the future.”

“It has however, become apparent to me that due to my health challenges, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to perform at the level required of the position. After considerable reflection and consultation with my family and others including my medical advisers, it is an appropriate time to leave to focus on my health,” he said.

Fredricson takes over as acting CEO

Peter Fredricson, a veteran energy sector executive who joined Oil Search earlier this year as chief financial officer, has agreed to become acting CEO with immediate effect.

Lee said the board looked forward to working with Fredricson to ensure that production projects in Papua New Guinea and development initiatives in both PNG and Alaska remained “on track and on budget.”

ASX-listed Oil Search said it would soon start a search for a permanent managing director/CEO including interviews with internal and external candidates.

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