New interim CEO to lead Spirit Energy through transition

As it transitions to a new phase, E&P company Spirit Energy has made board and executive appointments, including the appointment of an interim CEO, focusing on efficiency and how its assets can be used as part of the energy transition.

Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica, has replaced Mark Hanafin as Chairman of the board of Spirit Energy with immediate effect.

Neil McCulloch, currently Spirit Energy’s Executive Vice President Technical and Operated Assets, has been appointed Interim Chief Executive, also with immediate effect. He succeeds Chris Cox, who will leave Spirit Energy on 28 February 2022 after six years with Centrica and Spirit Energy.

Neil McCulloch, Spirit Energy CEO
Neil McCulloch, Spirit Energy CEO

McCulloch has held leadership roles across operated and non-operated assets in Europe and further afield, Spirit Energy said on Wednesday.

Chris O’Shea, Chairman of the Board of Spirit Energy, said: “Both Centrica and Stadtwerke Munchen are extremely grateful for Mark’s contribution in leading the Spirit Board since the formation of the company.”

He added: “Chris Cox has been instrumental in shaping Spirit Energy and has embedded a culture and set of values that will be the foundation which supports Spirit’s continued future success.”

Commenting on McCulloch’s appointment, O’Shea said: “Neil’s initial priorities will be to lead the Spirit team to complete the Norwegian transactions and to establish our refocussed business for success as a company safely delivering production from our existing assets, meeting and de-risking our decommissioning obligations, and exploring strategic energy transition opportunities from our existing assets.”

Namely, Spirit Energy in December 2021 announced that it had entered into agreements to divest its Norwegian business, including the Statfjord UK field. After this sale, the company will be predominantly a gas business.

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Neil McCulloch, Spirit Energy CEO, said: “I look forward greatly to working with our new Chairman, Chris O’Shea, and the board to manage the transition to a more focussed company and, more broadly, through the energy transition where we see exciting opportunities as excellent stewards of our existing assets, industry leaders in cost-effective decommissioning, and also in being at the forefront of pursuing Net Zero opportunities in our portfolio.”

McCulloch has held leadership roles across operated and non-operated assets in Europe and further afield.

McCulloch’s career started as a Graduate Trainee Petroleum Engineer, working on Spirit Energy’s Morecambe Bay field. He was previously Senior Vice President of Engineering and Production at OMV and spent 11 years in asset and functional leadership roles at BG Group. Before joining Spirit Energy, he held the position of Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at EnQuest.