Ithaca Energy in leadership changes following Eni deal

Aberdeen-headquartered Ithaca Energy Plc announced a number of changes to its board and executive management team following last month’s announcement that it will buy nearly all of Italian energy firm Eni’s UK-based oil and gas producing assets for roughly £754 million in shares.

Tel Aviv-listed Delek Group will own just over 50% of Ithaca when the deal closes and Eni will hold 38.5% of the enlarged share capital of the firm. As part of the deal, Eni was entitled to nominate the next CEO of Ithaca.

The leadership changes include the departure of executive chairman Gilad Myerson, who will be succeeded by Dave Blackwood, who will become interim non-executive chairman, to be followed by the proposed appointment of Yaniv Friedman as executive chairman.

The changes also include the proposed appointment of Luciano Vasques as CEO, with Iain Lewis returning to his role as chief financial officer following his spell as interim CEO, and the appointment of Odin Estensen as chief operating officer and Zvika Zivlin as senior independent director.

“Gilad has been an instrumental part of Ithaca Energy’s growth, increasing its footprint, production, reserves and cash flows significantly through the integration of Chevron North Sea, the acquisitions of Mitsui UK, Marubeni UK, Summit E&P (UK) and Siccar Point Energy, the milestone sanctioning of the Rosebank development, the company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and the recent announcement of the transformational business combination,” said Ithaca.

“Gilad will be available as an advisor to the company to provide assistance as required for a limited period of time. Dave Blackwood, CBE will serve as non-executive chairman until his successor is formally appointed then returning to his role as non-executive director.

“Dave Blackwood joined Ithaca Energy’s board in October 2022 as non-executive director and chair of the Health, Safety, Environmental and Security committee, after a distinguished career spanning 47 years in the global energy sector, including heading up bp’s upstream business in the UK and Norway.

“Dave brings considerable leadership and board experience and a deep understanding of the oil and gas industry with significant technical and commercial expertise.

“The company is pleased to announce the proposed appointment of Yaniv Friedman as executive chairman in the coming weeks, once all formal conditions of his appointment have been satisfied.

“Yaniv has significant global executive experience working in the energy and infrastructure sectors and brings considerable strategic, commercial, public company and M&A expertise.

“Yaniv most recently held the role of CEO of Modiin Energy LP, an oil and gas partnership listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with operations including development projects in the US as well as exploration offshore Israel.

“Prior to this, Yaniv served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Newmed Energy LP, Israel’s leading energy partnership in the exploration, development, production and sale of natural gas. Yaniv further held other senior executive positions in public and private energy companies …

“Ithaca Energy is delighted to announce that Eni has proposed the appointment of Luciano Vasques as Chief Executive Officer, subject to the completion of customary onboarding processes,” added Ithaca.

“Luciano’s appointment will become effective on completion of the business combination and he will immediately join the Ithaca Energy Board.

“Luciano brings a wealth of executive and energy industry experience with a career spanning over 30 years covering a range of leadership, technical and operational roles.

“Luciano currently holds the role of Managing Director of Eni UK Limited and led the recent acquisition and integration of Neptune Energy into Eni UK’s operations and prior to this he held the role of Head of Central Asia for Eni SpA overseeing interests in two giant oil and gas fields, Kashagan and Karachaganak.

“During Luciano’s upstream career he has demonstrated a track record of successfully overseeing and delivering multibillion dollar developments and operations across Eni S.p.A.’s global business that will prove invaluable as the company embarks on the development of its high-value greenfield portfolio. Luciano sits on the steering committee of the North Sea Transition Deal, led by NSTA.

“Iain Lewis will continue to hold the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer until Luciano’s appointment, and on completion of the Business Combination will return to his role as Chief Financial Officer …

“The company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Odin Estensen as Chief Operating Officer. With more than 35 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector, Odin brings a wealth of operating experience and joins Ithaca Energy from Neptune Energy where he served as Managing Director of its Norwegian and UK businesses.

“Prior to this Odin held various senior roles at Shell across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Odin will join the company immediately.”

Ithaca added: “The business combination, announced on 23 April, will when complete create a UKCS powerhouse with the single largest resource base in the UK North Sea, creating a strategic platform for long-term growth in the basin and the pathway to becoming the largest producer in the UKCS by 2030.

“The combined business will benefit from complementary cashflows of a diversified and balanced portfolio with the potential for material long-term organic and inorganic growth and significant value creation unlocked through operational and financial synergies.

“The highly-cash generative combination provides material dividend capacity with an ambition for up to $500 million total dividends in 2024 and 2025.”