Board changes at Petroceltic after shareholder dispute

Two new independent non-executive directors announced for exploration firm’s board

Petroceltic International’s share placing had been held up by a dispute between the board and Worldview Capital Management. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Petroceltic International’s share placing had been held up by a dispute between the board and Worldview Capital Management. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 09:41

Oil and gas exploration firm Petroceltic has announced a number of changes to its board following the ending of a dispute with its largest shareholder Worldview Capital Management over a $100 million share placing.

As part of the agreement with Worldview, the Petroceltic Board has been reduced from nine to seven members with Hugh McCutcheon and Rob Arnott resigning as non-executive directors. In addition, David Thomas and Tom Hickey have also stepped down from the Board, but will continue to hold their executive roles in the company.

Don Wolcott and Joe Mach are to join the Petroceltic board as non-executive directors.

Mr Wolcott (53), was chief executive of Ruspetro from 2011 until 2013, including during its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in 2012. Prior to this, he worked for Yukos Oil from 1999 to 2005 as senior vice president responsible for all aspects of production and reservoir performance. From 1996 to 1998, Mr Wolcott worked at Schlumberger Oil Field Services and prior to that at Arco Alaska, from 1989 to 1994.

Mr Mach (65), was a non-executive director of Ruspetro from 2011 to 2013 and served as first vice president responsible for exploration and production at Yukos E&P from 1999 until 2006. Prior to Yukos, Mr Mach worked for Schlumberger from 1976 until 1999.

Mr Wolcott will also join the Audit and Nominations Committees and Mr Mach will join the Remuneration Committee at Petroceltic.

Neither of the two new non-executive directors hold shares in Petroceltic.

Petroceltic reached agreement with Worldview over the $100million share placing last month. The agreement cleared the way for the placing to be approved late last month.

As part of the deal Petroceltic committed to the board changes, and to modifications to the relationship agreement currently in place between Robert Adair, investment vehicle Skye Investments Limited and the company, including the removal of an obligation for Skye to vote in accordance with board recommendations in certain circumstances.

Worldview had previously said the placing trampled on shareholders rights, as 50 per cent of the placing was reserved for Dovenby Capital, a new investor.