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Industry rocked as BG boss quits

April: The industry was shocked by the resignation of Chris Finlayson from BG Group just 16 months into the job
April: The industry was shocked by the resignation of Chris Finlayson from BG Group just 16 months into the job

The oil and gas world was rocked yesterday with the surprise resignation of BG boss Chris Finlayson after less than 16 months in the job.

In an announcement to the stock exchange, the international oil and gas giant cited personal reasons for Mr Finlayson’s departure “with immediate effect”.

The announcement came three days before the company was due to present first-quarter figures.

Finlayson joined BG from Royal Dutch Shell in 2010. He took over the leadership role from former chief executive Frank Chapman at the at the start of last year.

The company has been hit by problems in Egypt, where it announced force majeure on its natural gas exports due to political turmoil.

Earlier this year delayed projects in the North Sea, Brazil and Australia forced Finlayson to issue a profit warning in January. The announcement instantly shaved 14% of BG’s shares.

Although analysts pointed out that Finlayson had “little control” over the Egypt situation, sources likened him to outgoing Manchester United manager David Moyes.

Chairman Andrew Gould said the company “must accelerate the creation and delivery of the longer-term value for our shareholders, while delivering the group’s business plans”.

“The board felt that it was in the best interests of the group to accept Chris’s resignation and seek fresh leadership,” he added.

The company said that although it was now reviewing its operational, investment and portfolio management plans, it will not provide 2015 guidance until its full year results in February 2015.

Gould will take the helm on an interim basis as the company begins the search for an external successor.

BG, which employs 5,000 staff in 20 countries, has key growth projects in Brazil and Australia but its growing asset base has led to higher unit operating costs.

After suffering from an initial 6% drop in its share price as shareholders digested the implications of yesterday’s announcement, BG’s share price closed last night one point higher at £11.46.

The group said its production guidance remained unchanged at 590,000-630,000 barrels of oil per day, although this was “now expected to be at the lower end of the range given the issues in Egypt”.

“The deterioration in Egypt will similarly impact 2015 production,” the statement added.

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