Ex-Woodside exec taking over CFO role at ‘pivotal moment’ for Santos

Australian energy giant Santos has named a former senior executive of Woodside as its new chief financial officer (CFO) at a pivotal moment for the company as its merger with Oil Search is now effective.

Santos on Monday announced that Anthea McKinnell will become its CFO from 1 January 2022, replacing Anthony Neilson who has held the role since December 2016. The two will begin a handover immediately. Neilson will stay with the company as Chief Commercial Officer initially based in Sydney, where he will play a key role in overseeing the transition of the Oil Search business.

McKinnell has been with Santos as deputy CFO since 2019. According to the company, she has extensive experience in the industry, having previously spent 13 years at Woodside where she held several senior executive roles, including SVP Finance and Treasury, VP Global Operations Planning and Performance, and Acting CFO.

To remind, Santos and Oil Search entered into a definitive agreement to merge in September 2021 in a deal valued at about $16 billion, which is expected to create an entity in the top-20 ASX-listed companies and the 20 largest global oil and gas companies.

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It was agreed that the combined Santos and Oil Search would be led by Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher. It was also agreed that, following the completion of the merger, three non-executive directors from Oil Search would join the Santos board while Santos’ head office will remain in Adelaide.

The merger between Santos and Oil Search became effective on 10 December following the approval of Oil Search’s scheme of arrangement by the National Court of Papua New Guinea. As of today, Santos is listed on the official list of the PNGX, Papua New Guinea’s National Stock Exchange, following approval by the Board of PNGX of Santos’ listing application as an exempt foreign entity.

Santos also pointed out that McKinnell played a key role in leading the successful $1 billion US144A bond transaction in April 2021, integration of the ConocoPhillips asset purchase, and the current Oil Search merger.

Santos CEO, Kevin Gallagher, commented: “I am pleased to announce Anthea as an internal successor in the role of CFO at this pivotal moment for Santos as we finalise a merger that expands our business regionally. I also acknowledge the outstanding contribution Anthony Neilson has made to Santos as CFO over the past five years, playing a significant role in the company’s turnaround, subsequent growth and acquisitions.”