Regal Petroleum chairman resigns

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The Independent Online

The chairman and chief executive of Regal Petroleum, Paul Morgan, has quit the troubled oil and gas explorer after just three months in the job, citing "personal reasons".

Mr Morgan was brought in by the company's biggest shareholder, the controversial businessman Frank Timis, after a boardroom coup. The company did not elaborate further on the reasons for the resignation. Mr Morgan was in Toronto yesterday attending to the affairs of another company where he is executive chairman, Goldbelt Resources.

Market sources suggested that Mr Morgan suffered from health problems. There were also indications that he could not devote sufficient time to London-based Regal, given his business interests in Toronto.

Mr Morgan and Mr Timis had previously worked together at a Canadian company, Gabriel Resources, which is involved in mining in Mr Timis's native Romania. Mr Morgan had been chief executive of Regal once before, in 1999-2000, when it was a private company.

Analysts said that Mr Morgan, a geologist by background, may have become frustrated at the lack of progress at Regal. The company's Greek asset has been forcibly taken over by the local workforce. Its Ukrainian licences are in a long-running dispute in the courts in that country and there is no production there. Its other prospects, in Romania, Egypt and Liberia, are at an early stage.

Mr Timis was forced to resign from the Regal board last year after the company's much-hyped Greek prospect turned out to be a dry well.

Mr Morgan was installed as chairman and chief executive on 3 March - it is thought at the behest of Mr Timis. At the same time, three directors had resigned.

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