Occidental Shakes up CFO Role, Appoints Sunil Mathew

Sunil Mathew Credit: Oxy
Sunil Mathew Credit: Oxy

Oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum said on Wednesday it had appointed company veteran Sunil Mathew as its new chief financial officer, a new executive in a span of three years. 

Occidental overtime has been shuffling its finance head quite frequently and it has been a bit of a revolving door. The company, in its recent filing, did not provide a reason for the CFO change. The appointment, effective immediately, replaces Rob Peterson, who would now lead the company's chemical division. 

Peterson, who was the CFO since 2020, would transition into the role of executive vice president of essential chemistry at Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), a wholly-owned subsidiary. 

The shale producer appointed Peterson in 2020, when it was struggling with a massive $40 billion debt load from its purchase of rival Anadarko Petroleum that was considered an ill-timed bet and was widely criticized. 

His predecessor, Cedric Burgher was there for three years and left after settling a long and bitter war with activist investor Carl Icahn over the Anadarko deal, giving the activist investor's associates three seats on its board. 

Mathew, 53, has been with the company since 2004. Prior to the new role, he was Occidental's vice president of strategic planning and analysis. 

Mathew was instrumental in completing Occidental's large-scale divestiture program of about $10 billion that was announced after the Anadarko acquisition, the company said in a filing. 

Occidental Petroleum last week raised its full-year production forecast by 1% but missed second-quarter profit expectations due to a slide in oil and gas prices and took a writedown to exit some operations. Shares of the company were top performers last year in the S&P 500 index but they have lagged behind the market this year so far, rising 1% year to date compared to a 16.3% gain in the S&P 500.

 (Reuters - Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Rashmi Aich)

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