The oil and gas player, Freedom Oil and Gas Limited (ASX: FDM) announces significant leadership changes in the organizational structure. J. Russell Porter will be assuming the title of President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member effective 14 January 2019. J. Michael Yeager, Freedom’s Chairman of the Board, President and CEO will continue as non-executive Chairman going forth.
Mr. J. Russell Porter holds significant 25 years’ experience in the natural resources industry, property acquisition and energy finance. Mr. Porter led Gastar Exploration Inc from an early stage company in 2000 to a US $1 billion company in 2018. He initially undertook the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer and subsequently as President and CEO of the company. From 1994 to 2000, Mr. Porter assumed various roles including Executive Vice President of Forcenergy, Inc. Mr. Porter completed Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Land Management from Louisiana State University and owns MBA degree from the North Carolina University.
As stated by J. Michael Yeager, the company has been continuously focussing on taking a transformational leap from drilling company to a stable E&P company with the support of a strong operations team, stable capital base via Wells Fargo reserve base lending facility and robust partnership with Ramas Capital Management. He completely supports the management decision for a leadership change, taken at the right time and circumstances. He anticipates bright future for the company, possessing the required capability to expand into a larger scale oil and gas company through both internal development and acquisitions.
Mr. Yeager expresses strong confidence on Mr Russel’s experience in developing unconventional basins in the U.S, securing appropriate financial base, well networked in the US and having managed coral bed methane assets in Australia. He also supported the company’s decision of adding Winston Talbert, with successful merger and acquisition experience, as its Board Member last month.
- Russell Porter also expressed gratitude, joining Freedom as new CEO and President and is looking forward to work with a proven operations team that is executing at a high level of performance. He believes the company has great potential to expand its footprint within the greater Eagle Ford trend in the current challenging yet rich industry environment.
The Board has approved a remuneration package with a base salary of US $500,000 per annum, short term performance-based incentives and long-term performance rights of USD 2.5 million over three years, subject to shareholder approval at the company’s upcoming AGM in May 2019.
Mr. Porter’s employment as an executive will continue until terminated by either party. If terminated without cause, Mr. Porter is entitled to receive 1.5 times the prior 12-month base salary and annual target bonus with any amounts above Australian statutory caps subject to shareholder approval. If terminated for good reason by Mr. Porter with a notice, he is entitled to receive 1 time prior 12-month base salary and annual target bonus and all unvested performance rights would vest.
The FDM stock has generated a negative return of 45.61% over last six months. However, the shares are up by 14.81% since one month. Post the leadership announcement today, the shares are down by approximately 3.2%, trading at A$0.150 (as at 3:07 PM, 14 January 2019).
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