BG Group chief Chris Finlayson resigns after 16 months at the helm

BG Group parted company with its chief executive Chris Finlayson yesterday as he paid the price for a disastrous 16 months at the helm of the FTSE 100 oil and gas explorer.

Mr Finlayson, who took over from long-serving Sir Frank Chapman at the beginning of last year, will leave with £1.3m in notice payments and pension entitlements after the board accepted his resignation for “personal reasons” at a weekend meeting – his minimum contractual entitlement.

He is understood not to have another job to go to and the chairman Andrew Gould has taken over on an interim basis.

Startled analysts compared Mr Finlayson’s demise with that of David Moyes, sacked last week 10 months into succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United. In an unusually blunt statement Mr Gould said: “The board felt that it was in the best interests of the group to accept Chris’s resignation and seek fresh leadership.”

Mr Finlayson sought to strike a different tone from Sir Frank, who was renowned for his autocratic style in the 12 years he led the company.

But since taking over Mr Finlayson has presided over a succession of profit warnings and a 37 per cent slump in annual profits following a year blighted by problems in Egypt, which accounts for about a fifth of production.

It is understood concern among the group’s major shareholders reached fever pitch over Mr Finlayson’s suitability to push forward BG’s strategy, which was unveiled in May last year. This included BG concentrating on fewer production assets as well as bringing in outside investors to generate cash from assets at different stages to recycle into early growth opportunities.

Sources said the 30-year veteran of Royal Dutch Shell, was seen more as a manager and engineer and lacking in deal-making expertise.  The group is sticking to the current strategy but there was more disappointment on Egypt yesterday as BG warned production would be at the lower end of its expected range. It has also dropped its 2015 guidance.

In a note entitled “No longer the Chosen One?” Neill Morton, an analyst at Investec, called the departure “strange”. Mr Morton said: “He cites ‘personal reasons’ yet the board seems happy to usher him through the exit while reiterating its commitment to his strategy.

“His focus was on project delivery and Brazil and Australia still appear to be on track. Egypt may have deteriorated, but this is a political situation over which Mr Finlayson had little control.”

BG shares, which have underperformed the FTSE 100 in the past year, closed up 1p at 1,146p. About 8 per cent of its shareholders are private investors, a hangover from the 1986 “Tell Sid” privatisation of British Gas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree:...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future