* Former BP boss to leave in second half of 2017 - sources
* Hayward short listed several candidates to succeed
* Company struggling to recover after oil rout, Iraq
* Genel suffered heavy blow after huge reserves downgrade
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, Sept 29 Tony Hayward, the former BP
boss, is set to step down next year as chairman of Genel
Energy, which he founded in 2011 and became the biggest
oil and gas producer in Iraqi Kurdistan, three sources close to
the company said.
Today, Genel is struggling with a drop in oil prices,
regional conflict and a large reserves downgrade.
The 59-year-old, whose tenure at BP ended abruptly following
the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico spill, has in
recent weeks said in closed discussions he plans to quit his
post in the second half of next year, the three sources said.
A company spokesman said that no decision has yet been made
regarding the timing of such a transition.
"Genel is committed to having a strong board and, as you
would expect, carefully considers succession planning in order
to ensure a smooth transition of key roles at appropriate
times," the company said.
Hayward, who is also the non-executive chairman of
commodities giant Glencore, has short listed a number
of candidates who could succeed him which "would have prominent
standing in the City," one source said, referring to London's
He is expected to present his nominees to the board in the
next few months.
Hayward, who drew heavy criticism over his handling of the
Deepwater Horizon blowout and by stating "I want my life back,"
is expected to focus on his efforts to set up a new oil and gas
exploration and production company focused on Latin America, the
Hayward may now have less than a year to revamp Genel after
it posted its biggest loss ever last year and suffered a
succession of setbacks which severely dented its reputation as
one of the most attractive energy companies in the years
following its listing in London in 2011 at the peak of the
global commodities boom.
Genel shares are today at around 10 percent of their January
2014 peak, shortly before the start of the oil market rout.
After leaving BP in 2010, Hayward teamed up with financier
Nat Rothschild to create investment vehicle Vallares which
merged with Genel Energy in 2011. Hayward was named Genel chief
executive with a mandate to expand operations in Kurdistan and
Africa at a time of soaring oil prices.
A string of disappointing oil exploration campaigns in
Malta, Angola and Morocco led to a $480 million write-off in
Plummeting oil prices and escalating violence in Iraq and
neighbouring Syria that led to large delays in payments for oil
sales to the Kurdistan Regional Government also piled pressure
on the company.
Genel's stature was reduced when earlier this year it
announced the halving of the reserves estimate at its flagship
Taq Taq field in Northern Iraq and a subsequent $1 billion
write-off which led to its biggest-ever annual
The company is now increasingly turning its focus to the
Turkish gas market with the development of the Miran and Bina
Bawi fields in Kurdistan Genel hopes to connect via pipeline to
In a sign of the shift in focus, Hayward stepped down as
chief executive in July 2015 and was succeeded by Turkish
national Murat Ozgul last year.
(Editing by William Hardy)