Acting CEO installed amid upheaval at Bowleven

Crown Ocean co-founders Christian Petersmann, Konstantin Stoyanov and chief financial officer Torsten Weißmeier

Edinburgh-based oil and gas firm Bowleven said on Monday that Eli Chahin — a nominee of activist investors Crown Ocean Capital — has been appointed acting chief executive officer with immediate effect.

Bowleven shares fell more than 3% to around 35p to give it a current stock market value of around £115 million.

Monaco-based Crown Ocean last week completed its boardroom clear-out at Africa-focused Bowleven with the resignation of chairman Billy Allan and departures of chief executive Kevin Hart and chief financial officer Kerry Crawford.

Crown Ocean, which controls about 22% of Bowleven’s shares, last month succeeded in having five directors including Hart and Crawford voted off the Bowleven board.

Amid the upheaval, Bowleven has launched a strategic review of all its options including a sale or merger of the firm.

The firm has said the options to be considered during the strategic review may include, but are not limited to, a review of the strategy proposed by Crown Ocean Capital in its letter to Bowleven shareholders dated 15 February 2017.

Bowleven has also appointed Joseph Darby as a non-executive director with immediate effect. 

It said Darby has more than 40 years’ experience in the upstream oil & gas industry and is currently the senior independent non-executive director at both Premier Oil plc and Gulfsands Petroleum plc, having previously held the role of chairman at Faroe Petroleum plc and Mowlem plc. 

He acted as CEO of Lasmo plc prior to its acquisition by ENI and is a former non-executive director of Alkane Energy Limited, Centurion Energy, Inc and British Nuclear Fuels Limited.