Petrofac CEO to Step Down. McDermott Man Named as Replacement

Radhika Anilkumar
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Oilfield services provider Petrofac said on Tuesday that Sami Iskander would step down as chief executive officer at the end of March 2023 and be replaced by Tareq Kawash, a senior executive at energy firm McDermott.

 Iskander took the helm in 2020 and steered Petrofac through an investigation by Britain's fraud office into the company's dealings in the Middle East, as well as the market volatility of the COVID pandemic and more recently the Russia-Ukraine war. 

But the company still faces challenges, with its largest division - engineering and construction (E&C) - seeing revenue drop 40% in the first half of this year and net debt doubling after it paid a $104 million fine to settle the fraud probe. 

Shares in Petrofac, which did not give a reason for Iskander's planned departure, were down 3.2% at 0855 GMT. "PFC's balance sheet will come under renewed scrutiny," analysts at Jefferies said in a note. 

"If the inability to return Petrofac's E&C business to awards growth has been the underlying drag on the investment case during Iskander's tenure, today's announcement suggests there remain significant challenges to such an outcome," they said. 

Petrofac reached a deal last year with Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) following a four-year investigation, and was fined after pleading guilty to paying bribes related to contracts in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2011 and 2017. 

"Having overseen the resolution of the SFO's historic investigation and led a comprehensive refinancing program, Sami has reshaped the business and put it firmly on a path to growth," Chairman Rene Medori said in a statement. 

Kawash, with around 30 years of industry experience, is joining Petrofac from oil and gas company McDermott, where he has most recently been senior vice president of its onshore and offshore business lines. He will take over as Petrofac CEO on April 1. 

(Reuters - Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Mark Potter)

Categories: People Middle East Activity People & Companies Oilfield Services

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