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Changes at the top as Valaris announces new CEO

© ValarisValaris 2021 results
Valaris JU-120 rig (not part of the ADES transaction).

Valaris, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies, has announced a change-up of its top team with the appointment of a new CEO.

Incumbent chief executive Tom Burke, who took the job in 2019 through the merger of Ensco and Rowan, will step down on September 2.

Anton Dibowitz, the former CEO of Seadrill and an executive director of Valaris, will take on the role.

Mr Burke steps down as the firm endured the shock of the 2020 oil price crash which devastated the offshore drilling sector,

Valaris, which posted pre-tax losses of $3.5billion in the second quarter of the year, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 30.

Mr Burke will continue to support Valaris “for a period” to ensure a smooth transition, the company said, and will remain on the board of ARO Drilling, its 50-50 joint venture with Saudi Aramco.

He said: “I appreciate the opportunity to have been CEO and to have worked with all of the great employees of Valaris and its outstanding leadership team. Together, we have navigated one of the most difficult downturns our industry has ever faced – and we came out positioned for success.”

The new CEO at Valaris, Mr Dibowitz, was CEO of rival Seadrill from July 2017 to October 2020, with more than 20 years of drilling industry experience.

With work now rolling in, he was bullish about the company’s prospects going forward, highlighting 20 new contracts or extensions being awarded since early May with associated backlog of more than $1.3bn.

He said: “My time on the Valaris Board of Directors has only served to reinforce my understanding of Valaris as a world-class organization

“With the strongest balance sheet in the offshore drilling sector, unmatched scale and geographic diversity, and a modern, best-in-class fleet, Valaris is well-positioned to take advantage of strategic opportunities and a steadily improving market.”

Meanwhile chief financial officer Jon Baksht will also step down from his position on September 2, with Darin Gibbins, the current vice president for investor relations and treasurer taking on the role on an interim basis.

Chair, Elizabeth Leykum, said: “Anton brings more than twenty years of experience in the offshore drilling industry to the CEO role.

“His familiarity with our business, customers and culture combined with his extensive industry expertise will allow him to continue to build upon our positive momentum and solid foundation.

“We look forward to working closely with Anton, Tom, Jon, Darin and the entire Valaris executive team to ensure a smooth transition.”

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