Regal Petroleum has named David Greer, a veteran oil man from Shell, as chairman and chief executive as part of a sudden shake-up in the top management at the London-based energy company.
The surprise announcement comes a day after Regalentered into exclusive negotiations to transfer a majority stake in its Ukrainian operations to Shell.
Neil Ritson, who announced the agreement with Shell two days ago, is understood to have resigned as chief executive yesterday because he was opposed to an initial plan for Mr Greer to join the company as executive chairman.
Francesco Scolaro, who is stepping down as non-executive chairman, will continue on the board. Another Shell veteran, Antonio Mozetic, has been appointed as a non-executive, while Harry Verkuil, a former Shell exploration and production manager, is joining as an executive director in January.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed between Regal and Shell on Wednesday, the oil major would pay $410m (£195m) for a 51 per cent stake in a Regal subsidiary which holds the licences for two gas and condensate fields in central-eastern Ukraine.
Regal's founder, Frank Timis, still owns a 19.95 per cent stake in the company.
Mr Greer, who has worked for Shell International exploration and production for 28 years, was most recently the deputy chief executive and project director of the Sakhalin-2 project, the major liquefied natural gas development off the east coast of Russia. He said that he was looking forward to developing the company's Ukrainian assets.
"I am very pleased and honoured to be offered this position and to be given the opportunity to participate in the further development of the company's exciting portfolio of assets, particularly in the Ukraine," he said.
"The past board members have done a tremendous job getting our licences ratified by the courts over there ... With my background in the development arena, I would want to make the most of it ... It's a challenge but I'm looking forward to it."
Mr Greer declined to comment on Regal's recent agreementwith Shell.
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