Sector News

Transocean CEO and President Steps Down

February 16, 2015
Oil-services company Transocean Ltd. said Chief Executive Steven Newman would leave the company amid a downturn for the industry following the slump in oil prices last summer.
Switzerland-based Transocean, which specializes in providing rigs for offshore oil drilling, said Mr. Newman’s near five-year tenure as CEO would come to an end on Monday. Company Chairman Ian Strachan will step in as interim chief executive.
Transocean has suffered along with oil services companies as their key customers—large national and independent oil companies—have cut back on investment following a halving in oil prices since June. The company recorded a $2.2 billion loss in the third quarter of 2014, the last period for which financial statements are available. That included a $2.8 billion write off against goodwill and other assets on Transocean’s balance sheet. Transocean’s shares, whose leading owners include activist investor Carl Icahn and BlackRock Inc., have slumped nearly 60% since late June.
More recently, Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook for Transocean to negative, saying a prolonged fall in oil prices could add to already existing oversupply of offshore oil rigs.
Mr. Newman’s leadership of Transocean was also notable for its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in May 2010, the largest in U.S. history. Transocean, which owned the rig that exploded, leading to the death of 11 workers, paid a fine of $1 billion in 2013 related to the spill. Last year a federal judge found Transocean to have been negligent in the disaster and ascribed 30% of the blame for the event to the company.
By Andrew Peaple

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