Oil firm Gulf Keystone Petroleum revealed yesterday that its colourful chairman Simon Murray is to retire.
Ex-Glencore chairman Murray has had a varied past, which includes a stint in the French Foreign Legion. He previously led Li Ka-Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa for 10 years, and is famously known for having once been chased by a leopard.
Murray will be replaced by independent director Andrew Simon, who takes up the role of interim non-executive chairman with immediate effect. He will remain in the role while the search process for a new chair is ongoing.
“On behalf of the board and everyone at Gulf Keystone, I would like to thank Simon Murray for his significant contribution since 2013,” said Simon.
He added that Murray had overseen the firm’s move from Aim up to the main market of the London Stock Exchange during his tenure at the company.
Murray was also at the helm when the company achieved its production target of 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
Simon added: “He has also worked tirelessly on behalf of the company as we navigate through some of the challenges brought about by both the geopolitics of the region where we operate and the current oil price environment. We wish him well in the future.”
Meanwhile, shares in the Gulf Keystone were down by 9.88 per cent yesterday after the company announced it had raised $40.7m (£27.4m) through a conditional placing of 85.9m shares.
The group said the proceeds would be used to strengthen its financial position “in the near term”, while the previously announced review of longer-term financing options and possible actions continues.
Lewis Sturdy, dealer at London Capital Group, said the company had “bought time and space” with the placing, but noted that “a long-term strategy for recovery is still to be seen”.
Sam Wahab, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said yesterday’s announcement “represents an important milestone for the company”.
Wahab added: “We believe that raising additional capital at this stage underlines continued shareholder support for GKP’s story against the backdrop of difficult macro-conditions and civil instability in Iraq.”