Lasmo names Agnew as next non-exec chairman

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RUDOLPH Agnew, the former head of Consolidated Gold Fields, is to take over as non-executive chairman of Lasmo, the oil company, succeeding Lord Rees when he retires after the annual meeting on 24 May.

He will be paid pounds 150,000 a year, but no fringe benefits, for an initial three-year term in return for up to two days a week at Lasmo. His maximum pay-off on losing his position will be one year's fee.

Mr Agnew was chairman and chief executive of Consolidated Gold Fields until it was taken over by Hanson in a pounds 3bn deal shortly after fending off a bid from Minorco.

He became chairman of Stena Line (UK) in 1990 when the Stena Group acquired the cross-Channel ferries from Sea Containers. In the same year he took over as chairman of TVS Entertainment, which later lost its South of England franchise and was sold to a US company.

'With my background in mining, I am very attracted to asset plays,' he said. 'I learned that you cannot rely on high commodity prices. In oil, as in mining, the crux is successful exploration or holding finding costs down.'

Lasmo's fortunes have been on the slide since it took over Ultramar for pounds 1.1bn in 1991. A falling oil price exposed the company's high cost base, leading to a sharply falling share price, the departure of its former chief executive, Chris Greentree, in January 1993, and a slashed dividend.

A fortnight ago Lasmo passed its final dividend for 1993 after writing pounds 120m off the value of its oil assets.

Joe Darby, chief executive, said that Mr Agnew's appointment marked the beginning of 'a new era' at Lasmo. 'We realised that he had a lot of relevant experience although not in the oil and gas industries. He also has wide contacts and an understanding of the City.'

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