Tullow Oil Chairperson announces step down plans

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Tullow Oil’s Chair to step down
Dorothy Thompson

Africa-focused Tullow Oil’s Chairperson Dorothy Thompson has announced plans to step down at the end of the summer after nearly three years in the role.

A search process to find a new chair has been launched and is expected to conclude towards the end of the summer. Thompson will remain chair of the company until a new chair is appointed and an appropriate handover has taken place.

Thompson joined the Tullow Oil board in April 2018 and became chair in September 2018. She was previously the executive chair of Tullow Oil from December 2019 to September 2020, after which she reverted to a non-executive position following the appointment of Rahul Dhir as the company’s chief executive officer.

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New business plan

The outgoing Tullow Oil Chairperson spent 12 years, until the end of 2017, as chief executive officer of Drax Group plc, an international power and energy trading company. Before joining Drax, Thompson worked for InterGen Services Inc, and PowerGen plc. Thompson started her career in development banking with the Commonwealth Development Corporation and the National Development Bank of Botswana.

Thompson, one of only a handful of women chairing a London-listed company, said it was the right time for her to step back after Tullow last month emerged from a financial overhaul with a US $1.8 billion bond and a new business plan under top boss Rahul Dhir.

“My time with Tullow has been interesting and challenging and Tullow is now well positioned for a positive and sustainable future,” said Thompson in a company statement.

Producing offshore oilfields

The company last year said it would commit 90% of its investments in coming years on its producing offshore oilfields in West Africa and put exploration on the back burner to reduce debt.

Tullow, which was set up in the 1980s to produce oil and gas in Africa, has historically focused on exploring new discoveries but the oil price collapse last year forced the entire oil and gas industry to slash its exploration budget. The company last year said it would commit 90% of its investments in coming years on its producing offshore oilfields in West Africa and put exploration on the back burner to reduce debt.

“With the refinancing successfully concluded through our recent bond issue and with a new business plan in place, which is progressing well under Rahul Dhir’s capable leadership, I have decided that this is the right time to step back from Tullow and to move to other opportunities. I wish the board and staff all good fortune and will remain a keen observer of Tullow as it executes its new strategy,” Thompson added.