Dorothy Thompson to replace Tullow Oil founder

Linchpin Aidan Heavey the driving force behind Tullow for more than three decades

Tullow Oil founder Aidan Heavey is to step down as chairman after more than 30 years with the company.

Dorothy Thompson, the former chief executive of energy group Drax, will take up the role. Ms Thompson will be appointed chairwoman-designate following the company's agm on April 25th, and succeed Mr Heavey following the conclusion of the board meeting scheduled for July 20th.

The move marks a major change for the company, with Mr Heavey the driving force behind Tullow for more than three decades. He stepped down as chief executive of the firm last year, when he was succeeded by then-chief operating officer Paul McDade. Mr Heavey took on the role of chairman in a transition period and was expected to keep that role for another year.

“Dorothy has exactly the right mix of leadership, managerial, operational and financial experience that Tullow needs,” Mr Heavey said. “I look forward to working closely with Dorothy during the transition period until she takes over as chair in July, and I will follow Dorothy and Tullow’s progress over the next few years with much interest.”

Ms Thompson held her role at Drax for 12 years until the end of 2017. Prior to that she managed InterGen’s European power business, was head of project finance at PowerGen and worked at CDC Capital Partners.

She holds a BSc and an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has also served as a non-executive director of the Court of the Bank of England since 2014, and the NYSE-listed Eaton Corp since 2016.

Full potential

“I am very pleased to be joining Tullow as the company emerges from the recent downturn in a strong position following the significant progress it has made over the past two years,” Ms Thompson said.

“I am looking forward to working with Paul and the board as we focus on delivering the full potential of the company’s world class portfolio and the return to value enhancing growth.”

Mr McDade welcomed her appointment. “I am delighted that Dorothy Thompson is joining Tullow, and I wish her well as she takes on her new responsibilities. Dorothy Thompson’s extensive experience as CEO at Drax will be exceptionally valuable as we work together to position Tullow for growth in what remains an uncertain environment in our sector.

“While Tullow is well-positioned with a balanced set of production, development and exploration assets, we will need to ensure that the company not only delivers on the potential of its current assets, but also seeks out new opportunities for growth.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist