Weatherford boss steps down

Oilfield services company one of many struggling in a weakened oil sector.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 10, 2016 at 9:41 AM
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BAAR, Switzerland, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Struggling oilfield services company Weatherford International said it was parting ways with its board chairman as it looks to navigate a long downturn.

Board Chairman, President and CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner is leaving after steering the company for the better part of three decades. His duties will be divided between Board Chairman Robert Rayne and interim CEO Krishna Shivram.

"We look forward to moving ahead to build upon the successes of the company that Dr. Duroc-Danner has built and grown and are infinitely thankful for his service," Rayne said in a statement.

The company, one of the larger ones servicing the exploration and production side of the energy sector, reported a net loss for the third quarter of $1.78 billion, compared with a second quarter loss of $565 billion.

Last year, Weatherford closed six service facilities and 90 operating facilities in North America while at the same time completing its target of cutting payrolls by 14,000. Early this year, the company said a headcount reduction of up to 6,000 was possible.

Most of the decline for Weatherford was due to after-tax charges. In September, a tax manager and vice president in charge of taxes at Weatherford agreed to settle charges they were using deceptive accounting to better align results with expectations. Settling for $140 million, the company was forced to restate its financial statements three times in the one-year period ending 2012.

Two of the officials named by the Securities and Exchange Commission -- James Hudgins and Darryl Kitay -- must pay $334,067 and $30,000, respectively, without issuing a position on the charges.

Duroc-Danner told The Wall Street Journal he was leaving the company on amicable terms.

"I've been doing this a long time," he said, adding he helped with the transition of power.

Weatherford built the float collar used on the failed Macondo well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The collar is used to contain cement at the bottom of the well.

The process used to cement the Macondo well was blamed in part for the series of malfunctions that led to a deadly explosion at the Deepwater Horizon in 2010 that led to one of the worst oil spills in history.

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