Nick Cooper to Step Down as Chief Executive Officer

The Board of Ophir (the “Board”) announces that, by mutual agreement, Dr Nicholas (Nick) Cooper the current Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, has stepped down from the Board with immediate effect. Nick will remain an employee of the Company at this time and will be leaving the Company after a short handover period. Mr Alan Booth, currently a non-executive director of the Company, has been appointed as Interim Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, until a new Chief Executive Officer is appointed.

Nick’s achievements while Chief Executive Officer have been considerable and include leading the Company through a successful IPO in 2011, realising value through selling part of its interest in Tanzania in 2013, the acquisition of Salamander in 2015 and, most recently, the proposed acquisition of Santos’ South East Asian assets. Under Nick’s leadership, the Company has evolved from being a frontier deepwater explorer to a financially strong business supported by a robust production base.


This decision to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer reflects the Company’s ongoing move to rebalance its portfolio towards a larger production and cash flow base, to support more focussed and sustainable exploration activity.


The recently announced Santos acquisition is an important step in this direction. The Board will strengthen management operational capabilities to deliver this strategy, alongside continuing its plans to realise value from Ophir’s substantial discovered gas resources. The Board continues to focus on realising value for shareholders from the Fortuna Project, and will continue to work with the Government of Equatorial Guinea to develop this important resource.


Commenting, Bill Schrader, Chairman of Ophir, said:

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Nick very much for his service to the Company. Nick was appointed CEO in 2011 when Ophir was a frontier explorer. Today, we have a production-focussed business model, exemplified by the proposed Santos transaction. This positions the company well for the future and provides a great platform to Nick’s successor. We wish Nick all the very best for the future. In Alan Booth, we have an excellent Interim CEO with the relevant operational experience.”


Nick Cooper said:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my seven years at Ophir and am proud of what we have achieved together. Ophir has transformed from a high risk, frontier explorer to a sustainable, balanced, upstream company. A solid platform has been built for new leadership to take the Company forward. I wish the staff, Board and shareholders of Ophir all the very best for the future.”


Background on Alan Booth

A geoscientist by background, Mr Alan Booth was, until 2005, Managing Director of EnCana UK Ltd with bottom line accountability for EnCana’s UK business. From a standing start in 1997 as a new UKCS entrant Alan was responsible for both building and leading an effective operating and exploration team that acquired an initial UKCS production base in the Scott and Telford fields from BP in 1999, later becoming a production Operator following the purchase of Hess’ interests in the field. In 2001 EnCana discovered and subsequently developed the 220kbbls/day, 800 million bbl Buzzard Field, eventually selling EnCana UK Ltd to Nexen Corporation for $2.1 billion in 2005.


Following the sale of EnCana UK, Alan and a number of his former colleagues established a new company, EnCore Oil Limited, eventually listing on AIM in 2006. EnCore was subsequently involved in a number of commercial discoveries, most notably in 2010 the EnCore operated Catcher Area Fields, and in 2012 the company was sold to Premier Oil in a cash or share alternative transaction, which valued EnCore at £265 million. Alan has been a Non-Executive Director of Ophir since 2013.


Background on Nick Cooper

Dr Nick Cooper was appointed as an Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer in June 2011. Prior to joining Ophir, Nick was Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of Salamander Energy plc. He began his career as a geophysicist with BG and Amoco before joining Booz-Allen & Hamilton. From 1999-2005 he was a member of the oil and gas team at Goldman Sachs. In September 2014 Nick was appointed as Non-Executive Director of Siccar Point Energy Limited. Nick has a BSc and PhD in Geophysical Sciences and an MBA from INSEAD.