Devon Energy CFO Tom Mitchell leaves abruptly

  • After about three years on the job
  • Praise and good wishes for Mitchell
  • Severance package
  • Jeff Ritenour taking over

(exechange) — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April 20, 2017 — Tom Mitchell, finance chief of Devon Energy, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Devon Energy Corp. in a news release published on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, April 20, 2017, Thomas L. (Tom) Mitchell leaves the post as chief financial officer at the independent energy company in a surprising move after about three years on the job, effective immediately.

Mitchell’s move comes eleven months after John Richels took over as chairman of Devon Energy Corp.

Mitchell’s duties are taken over by Jeff Ritenour, most recently senior vice president of corporate finance, investor relations and treasurer at Devon Energy Corp.

“To pursue other interests”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Devon Energy said: “In a related move, Devon’s incumbent CFO, Tom Mitchell, is leaving the company to pursue other interests.”

The phrase “to pursue other interests” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Mitchell was not immediately available.

“Terminated”

Devon Energy said: “Mr. Thomas L. Mitchell, the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company, was terminated from the Company on the Effective Date.”

“Not related to any issues regarding financial disclosures”

“His departure is not related to any issues regarding financial disclosures, accounting matters or business issues,” Devon Energy said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Devon Energy Corp. since June 2014.

Chaired by John Richels

Devon Energy Corp. is chaired by John Richels.

John Richels, 66, joined the board of directors in 2007. The board elected him as its vice chairman in December 2014 and as chairman in June 2016.

CEO: Dave Hager

Dave Hager serves as CEO of Devon Energy Corp. Dave Hager, 59, was elected by the board of directors to the position of president and chief executive officer, effective August 1, 2015.

On the job as CFO since 2014

Thomas L. Mitchell served as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at Devon Energy Corporation since joining on February 17, 2014.

Before joining Devon in February 2014, Mitchell served Midstates Petroleum Co. as its executive vice president, CFO and as a director.

From 2006 to 2011, he served as senior vice president and CFO of Noble Corp.

Prior to joining Noble, he was employed by Apache Corporation for 18 years in various financial and commercial roles.

Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Bob Jones University and is a CPA (inactive) in Colorado.

He serves on the board of directors of EnLink Midstream Partners, EnLink Midstream LLC and Hines Global REIT Inc.

Read the full story in the exechange report 17.2017 ($).