The Business On... Tom Cross, Chief executive, Dana Petroleum
Thursday 21 October 2010
Anyone really surprised that Mr Cross has quit?
Not really, Mr Cross built up Dana from nothing into a £2bn business for which the South Korean state oil company successfully launched a hostile takeover bid in the teeth of its founder's opposition. He was never likely to be happy answering to a parent company. But his departure is still something that the new owners may ultimately come to regret.
And the shares of his new company have doubled?
Yup. Parkmead, an AIM-listed tiddler, appointed him as executive chairman yesterday, creating huge excitement among investors and adding £10m to its market value. Even for a tiddler, that is quite some achievement.
Presumably he's good then?
Just a little bit. The Land Rover-driving workaholic wants to turn Parkmead, an oil investment company, into an exploration and production business – so, another Dana. Investors are betting heavily that he will succeed. The chances are that this smooth-talking Londoner, who now calls Aberdeen home, will repay their faith. He has built up a 28 per cent stake in the operation and is already a non-executive director.
And he's an English graduate?
Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few geologists in the upper echelons of the oil industry but Mr Cross, the first member of his family to go to university, got a first in English at Exeter. He has said he got into oil after being "impressed by the calibre of the people" and out of a desire to do something useful. At the moment, at least, it is oil that keeps the lights on. He also said he wanted to travel but, having worked in 24 countries, that itch has been scratched.
Keep an eye on Parkmead then?
Oh yes. The chances are that it will be creating news before too long and so will Mr Cross who, despite the headlines he has been creating, is not exactly in love with publicity and has divulged little in the way of personal information. He does have a son and two daughters, and was brought up in a working-class home in the capital with seven brothers and sisters. He has 17 nieces and nephews.
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