Gastar CEO Russ Porter leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about 14 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise, thanks and good wishes for Porter
  • Jerry Schuyler taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Houston, Texas, February 27, 2018 — Russ Porter, chief executive of Gastar, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Gastar Exploration Inc. in a news release on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, J.Russell (Russ) Porter leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the independent energy company after about 14 years in the position, effective immediately.

It is the end of an era.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.2 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 36 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 10 years.

Gastar will undertake a search for a successor.

Porter’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Jerry R. Schuyler, most recently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gastar Exploration Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, Gastar did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Porter’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

Schuyler said: “With the re-financing of Gastar’s capital structure last year, the pending sale of the WEHLU asset to enhance liquidity and the much improved operations results recently realized, the Board has a high degree of confidence in Gastar’s future and its ability to continue unlocking the value of its very attractive STACK Play assets.”

Precise information about Porter’s future plans was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CEO leaves the post abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Leaving”

Gastar said: “J. Russell Porter, President and CEO, will be leaving the Company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Gastar Exploration Inc. since June 2014.

Chaired by Jerry R. Schuyler

Gastar Exploration Inc. is chaired by Jerry R. Schuyler.

Jerry R. Schuyler was appointed member of the Board August 8, 2014.

In the position of CEO since 2004

Porter has been a member of the Board and has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2004.

From August 2006 until January 2010, he also served as Chairman of the Board.

From September 2000 to February 2004, he served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer.

Porter has an energy focused background, with approximately 22 years of natural gas and oil exploration and production experience and five years of banking and investment experience specializing in the energy sector.

From April 1994 to September 2000, Porter served as an Executive Vice President of Forcenergy, Inc., a publicly-traded exploration and production company, where he was responsible for the acquisition and financing of the majority of its assets across the United States and Australia.

He currently serves as a director of Petrel Energy Ltd., an Australian listed exploration and development company with assets in Uruguay, Spain and Canada and formerly served as a director of Caza Oil & Gas, Inc., a publicly-traded exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the London AIM exchange.

He has held no other directorship positions in publicly-traded companies during the last five years.

Porter holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Land Management from Louisiana State University and a MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He has extensive knowledge of the natural gas and oil industry and experience in managing natural gas and oil assets as well as relationships with chief executives and other senior management of natural gas and oil companies and oilfield service companies throughout the United States.

Porter resides in Houston, Texas, USA.

Porter will remain with Gastar during a transitional period in which he will assist Schuyler as well as remain available to the Company on a consulting basis.

Unplanned

Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it is a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Russ Porter’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 10.2018 ($).