Vaalco names new CEO, opening new London office

The board of directors of Houston-based Vaalco Energy has named a new chief executive officer (CEO) following the departure of the current CEO.

Illustration; Source: Vaalco

Vaalco said on Monday that it appointed its non-executive director George Maxwell to the CEO role, effective 12 April 2021.

Maxwell, a non-executive director since June 2020, will continue to serve as a member of the board. Cary Bounds, who served as the CEO since 2016 will leave Vaalco to pursue other interests.

The company also provided details on its newly updated forward strategy. It stated that its goal was to “continue to be one of the leading independent exploration and production companies in West Africa”.

With that in mind, Vaalco will open a business development office in London, the primary financial and advisory hub for African energy companies, and appoint a permanent CFO who will be based in this new London office. The previous CFO Elizabeth Prochnow retired on 31 March 2021. As for Maxwell, he will split his time equally between Houston and London.

With a majority of transactions for North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa energy companies taking place within the European financial markets, and a large part of the company’s peer group active within this environment, it is strategically important to have an enhanced presence within this market environment”, Vaalco said.

It is worth noting that Vaalco stocks are dual-listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Andrew Fawthrop, chairman of Vaalco, said: “We are excited to begin the next chapter of Vaalco’s 35-year history with our decision to increase our presence in the UK and international markets, a move that we believe will support Vaalco’s ambition to maximise shareholder returns.

We are very fortunate to have George Maxwell serve as our new CEO as he has significant experience serving in executive leadership positions, a proven track record in corporate and M&A activities and strong ties to the London investment community.

He has gotten to know our company well since joining our board in June of last year and can therefore ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

We would like to thank Cary for his dedication and valued years of service to the company. Cary guided us through some very challenging periods for the industry and helped the company emerge stronger.

He oversaw the highly successful 2019/2020 drilling program and the very accretive Sasol acquisition, the combination of which has grown production and reserves considerably and positioned Vaalco for significant cash flow in 2021. We wish Cary the best in the next phase of his career”.

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The new CEO George Maxwell added: “I’m excited by this opportunity to build on a successful foundation and lead the existing teams to grow the company to the next level. The positions we have in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea provide exciting development opportunities to enhance our business and provide a strong platform for investors.

I remain wholly committed to our roots and investor base in the U.S., and believe that our expanded presence in the UK financial and advisory markets maximises opportunities for us to achieve our stated strategy”.