Cairn Energy chief executive becomes new chairman

Oil explorer Cairn Energy has announced sweeping changes to its board as its chairman and two senior executives leave the company.

Norman Murray, non-executive chairman since 2002, will stand down on July 1 and be replaced by Cairn’s current chief executive Sir Bill Gammell.

Simon Thomson, Cairn’s current legal and commercial director, will replace Gammell as chief executive.

Gammell’s move from chief executive to chairman is an unusual one in corporate governance terms.

“The board, led by the senior independent director, Iain McLaren, views Sir Bill as overwhelmingly the best choice for chairman,” said Murray.

“His 30 years in the oil and gas industry coupled with his knowledge and understanding of operations in South Asia and his experience as chairman of the publicly listed Cairn India are a unique resource for the company.”

Cairn’s chief operating officer Malcolm Thoms and Philip Tracy, group engineering and operations director are also both to leave the company at the end of June.

Sir Bill will continue as Chairman of Cairn India and will retain overall responsibility for the current Vedanta transaction, the company said.

And it has created a new role of managing director for Jann Brown, its current finance director, as she has taken on new responsibilities.

Dr Mike Watts will continue as deputy chief executive, it said in a statement.