It seems that the sudden departure of Geoff Holmes from the top slot at Talisman Sinopec here in Aberdeen has set tongues wagging.
This is partly because of what is not said in the tersely worded statement by the company shoved out to the media yesterday.
An engineer by discipline, starting out at Chevron back in 1990 and later spending a fair number of years with KCA Deutag, Holmes recrossed the great divide between contractor and operator by joining Talisman back in 2007 as a VP, progressing up the ladder like any vigorous success story, becoming CEO of Talisman Sinopec Energy in December 2012.
Like so many North Sea bosses of character and conscience, he devoted time to the wider agenda and is I’m sure acknowledged for the roles played as a board member of Oil & Gas UK, co-chair of the Step Change in Safety Asset Integrity Steering Group and a member of the University of Aberdeen School of Engineering Advisory Board.
But what happened?
Why the sudden departure?
Did his face no longer fit?
Didn’t he get on with the Chinese?
Did he step out of line in some other way?
Was he frustrated and agreed that the door marked exit was best?
Had he decided to move on to another company and it was agreed that a rapid exit was best for both parties?
Was it something in his private life that precipitated the rapid exit?
So many questions and no answers; not so far.
Moreover, it would be wrong to speculate.
Heck, he could surface within days in another leading North Sea role … or not.
I just don’t know.
Meanwhile the highly capable Paul Warwick finds himself elevated.
Warwick’s a very different person to Holmes, but also passionate about the North Sea. He is a veteran of various initiatives and, in my view, also courageous.