Petrofac has found its new CEO in former Shell vice president Sami Iskander, as long-term boss Ayman Asfari announces his plans to retire.
Ayman Asfari, who first joined the energy services firm in 1991, announced today his plans to step down as chief executive at the end of the year to focus on “family, health and charitable interests”.
Sami Iskander will become deputy CEO on November 1 and, following a short transition period, will become the Petrofac group CEO on January 1, 2021.
Petrofac cited Mr Iskander’s 30 years of industry experience, including as executive vice president of Shell’s upstream joint ventures business between February 2016 – 2019, prior to which he was chief operating officer of BG Group.
Mr Asfari, who became CEO in 2002, said he has been planning his retirement for a “number of years”, but remains “deeply invested in the firm”.
“There is never a perfect moment to step down, and it has been a difficult decision for me to make”, he said.
“However, I have decided now is the time to hand over the day-to-day running of the Company to fresh leadership.
“My decision has been made easier in the knowledge that we have a highly capable team, to whom I owe enormous gratitude, and a successor of excellent calibre, who shares Petrofac’s vision to be the preferred services partner to the energy industry and has the right skills to lead Petrofac through the next phase of its evolution.
“As a major shareholder I remain deeply invested in Petrofac’s future and I am confident of the Group’s continued progress and success in the coming years.”
Chairman René Médori praised Mr Asfari’s “extraordinary” contribution and “indefatigable stewardship” which has seen the group through a number of downturns as well as a serious fraud office investigation.
He added that the board is “delighted” to have found a candidate of Mr Iskander’s calibre.
Mr Iskander will become an executive director on Petrofac’s board on January 1, while Mr Asfari will become a non-executive director.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining Petrofac at a pivotal and exciting time for the business. Petrofac is a truly outstanding company, with a best-in-class execution track record, a strong and differentiated competitive position in attractive core markets, and a growing new energies business.
“I have the utmost respect for what Ayman and Petrofac’s team have built. I look forward to working with them over the coming years to lead this fantastic company to deliver growth and create value for all of its stakeholders.”
An Egyptian and French national, he speaks fluent English, Arabic, Spanish and French and hold a Bsc in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo.
Petrofac said it currently has 10,700 employees based across 31 offices globally.
The firm, with offices in Aberdeen, employed around 900 people in the city as of late-February, with a further 2,000 in the North Sea region.
In April, Petrofac said it would reduce its then global headcount of around 11,500 by a fifth in response to the downturn, indicating 2,300 positions would be affected.
However the reductions were not planned evenly across the group.