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Insider UK
Insider UK
Peter A Walker

New Capricorn Energy board to undertake strategic review

Following a general meeting, Capricorn Energy has confirmed the appointment of six new members of its board of directors.

Chris Cox, Maria Gordon, Richard Herbert, Hesham Mekawi, Tom Pitts and Craig van der Laan join sitting members Catherine Krajicek and Erik B. Daugbjerg to form a reconstituted board.

They met to agree immediate priorities and appointed Van der Laan as Capricorn’s chair, Cox as interim chief executive and Herbert as senior independent director. Current chief executive Simon Thomson has left as a result.

The board will be conducting a "comprehensive strategic review" of Capricorn’s business and the several potential directions for the future of the company.

Top priority will be the adjourned shareholder meeting on the proposed NewMed merger, as well as plans to consider a significant distribution of cash to shareholders in excess of operating requirements.

The decision by the previous board to adjourn the general meeting to seek shareholder approval for the NewMed transaction, currently planned for 22 February, "provides an opportunity for the current board to evaluate the merits of the transaction and determine the best path forward/make a recommendation to shareholders," read the stock exchange update.

Van der Laan said: “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to chair Capricorn at an important point in the company’s history.

“This transition presents an opportunity for a fresh start: to identify what the company needs without preconceptions - as a first step to achieve this goal, we will conduct a thorough review of all available strategic directions before we determine the best path forward.

“On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Simon Thomson, who leaves the company today, for his contribution to this organisation over the last 27 years and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

At today’s meeting, membership of Capricorn’s board committees was also confirmed as follows:

Nomination and governance committee

  • Craig van der Laan – chair
  • Maria Gordon
  • Richard Herbert
  • Hesham Mekawi

Audit committee

  • Tom Pitts – chair
  • Maria Gordon
  • Richard Herbert
  • Catherine Krajicek

Remuneration committee

  • Maria Gordon – chair
  • Tom Pitts
  • Erik B. Daugbjerg

Sustainability committee

  • Catherine Krajicek - Chair
  • Hesham Mekawi
  • Erik B. Daugbjerg

Cox brings more than 40 years of experience in the oil and gas upstream sector, having held various senior roles with BG Group, Amerada Hess and Chevron throughout his career. He served most recently as chief executive of Spirit Energy and managing director of Centrica.

Gordon served as chair and senior director of various public companies, and is currently non-executive chair of Constellation Oil Services, based in Brazil. She has two decades of direct investment experience in senior roles, leading teams at Goldman Sachs and PIMCO.

Herbert has a background in negotiating complex commercial agreements with governments and field partners, serving most recently as chief executive of Frontera Energy. Before that, he served as BP’s head of exploration and was a member of Talisman Energy’s executive team following nearly two decades at BP in senior explorations and development positions.

Mekawi is a senior corporate executive with more than 30 years of experience at BP, where he served most recently as regional president for North Africa. He previously held roles with BP and Amoco focused on financial operations, strategic planning, economic analysis,and business development, and also led the Egyptian side of the Egyptian British Business Council from 2013 to 2020.

Pitts joins the board with more than 25 years of investment banking and private equity experience in public and private markets. Currently a partner at LionRock Capital, he has held senior leadership positions at firms including Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, and D.E. Shaw.

Van der Laan has nearly three decades of senior international executive experience across a wide range of industries, most recently serving as chief executive of the New South Wales Government’s Barangaroo Delivery Authority. He previously held several positions with the Brambles Group and senior executive and advisory roles with the Westfield Group, Transurban Group, CIMIC Group, Lend Lease and the Foster’s Group.

None of the new directors currently holds any Capricorn shares.

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