Zahawi will be working on a part-time basis for the company, which has operations in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, and will be responsible for evaluating the FTSE-listed oil company’s strategic options.
The co-founder of polling company YouGov, Zahawi has been MP for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010. He sits on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee after narrowly losing out on a bid to become its chair.
He was previously an adviser to Talisman Energy, an oil company with operations in Kurdistan, and was chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan during the last parliament.
Zahawi was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents and moved to the UK from Iraq when he was nine years old.
“I am delighted to have secured the services of Nadhim at this important time in Gulf Keystone’s development,” chief executive Jon Ferrier said in a statement.
Ferrier joined the company in June as part of a shakeup that saw the departure of the chairman and the CEO.
He is overseeing a strategic review that may include a sale of assets.
“With his Kurdish heritage and as a successful businessman, Nadhim brings a range of additional and critical skills to the company,” Ferrier said. “I firmly believe that the breadth and depth of his regional knowledge will prove invaluable, and will help further strengthen our relationships within the Kurdistan Regional Government amongst other key stakeholders in the Kurdistan Region and internationally.”
Shares in Gulf Keystone have dropped by more than 70 per cent in the past year amid a slump in oil prices. The stock closed at 23p on Friday, down from about 80p a year ago.