Empire Petroleum CEO Tommy Pritchard leaves

  • After about five years in the position
  • Mike Morrisett taking over

(exechange) — Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 22, 2023 — Tommy Pritchard, chief executive of Empire Petroleum, leaves his position. As announced by Empire Petroleum Corp. in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, Thomas W. (Tommy) Pritchard has left his post as chief executive officer at the oil and natural gas producer, after about five years in the role, effective March 16, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8 years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Tommy Pritchard’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Michael R. (Mike) Morrisett, most recently President and Principal Financial Officer at Empire Petroleum Corp.

“To pursue other opportunities”

Tommy Pritchard’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Empire Petroleum stated: “On March 16, 2023, Thomas W. Pritchard resigned as Chief Executive Officer and a director of Empire Petroleum Corporation (the “Company”) to pursue other opportunities.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (27.9% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.6%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.7%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.3% of cases), personal reasons (3.8%) and conduct issues (2.2%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (1.6% of cases), disagreement (1.3%), death (1.3%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%) and career change (0.9%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 28.5% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Tommy Pritchard’s future plans was not immediately available.


Empire Petroleum said: “Thomas W. Pritchard resigned as Chief Executive Officer and a director of Empire Petroleum Corporation.”

Generally, resignations are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to resign. In fact, 82% of the time “resign” was used in CEO departure announcements over the past 12 months, the departing chief executives received Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.

Share price decline since May 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Empire Petroleum Corp.’s share price of 44% since May 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2018

Tommy Pritchard became CEO of the Company in 2018.

Tommy Pritchard has been CEO and Director of Empire Petroleum Corporation since January 2018.

Pritchard co-founded Pritchard Griffin Advisors (“PGA”) in 2015 to serve the unique investment banking needs of the energy sector, including upstream, midstream, downstream and renewables. Prior to PGA, he formed Pritchard Energy Advisors, LLC in 2014.

From 2012 to 2014, Pritchard served as Managing Director of the Energy Investment Banking division of Imperial Capital.

Prior to this role, Pritchard served as CEO and Managing Director of Pritchard Capital Partners, which he founded in 2001 and later sold majority ownership in 2011.

Over a period of ten years, Pritchard Capital Partners participated in raising over $15 billion in capital for firms in the oil and gas industry and provided trading and research services annually to over 150 energy companies.

In 1997, Pritchard co-founded Offshore Tool and Energy, Inc., an oilfield services company that was sold in 2001.

He began his professional career in 1984 with Drexel Burnham Lambert, and later held key roles at Bear Stearns, Jefferies and Johnson Rice.

Pritchard earned his undergraduate degree in Geology from Washington and Lee University.

No statement by Tommy Pritchard

The announcement of his departure as CEO does not include a statement by Tommy Pritchard.

Over the past 12 months, 24% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 109 words. The longest statement was 510 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5, according to exechange data.

39% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 319 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (March 22, 2022, to March 21, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 6, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When performance issues, time with family or pursuit of other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 39% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, three in eight departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Push-out Score for Tommy Pritchard’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Tommy Pritchard’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Empire Petroleum and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 13.2023 ($).