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BG Group names Finlayson to succeed Sir Frank Chapman as chief executive

Natural gas company BG Group plc has named Chris Finlayson to succeed Sir Frank Chapman as chief executive. Finlayson will take over as chief executive on January 1, 2013.

Finlayson, currently executive director and managing director BG Advance, was one of three internal candidates identified last year to succeed Sir Chapman following his planned retirement. Martin Houston (LNG) and Fabio Barbosa (CFO, now on extended leave for illness) were the two other candidates up for the job, noted Peter Hutton, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“In our view, this is a sensible and practical appointment. Finlayson has maintained a lower profile than other candidates, but his experience as an insider's outsider is a useful balance. Going with an internal candidate who has been at the Group over the past two years will be less disruptive than an external candidate. For those who see BG as "broken" that may be a disappointment; we don't, and an internal candidate who should be prepared to roll his sleeves up is a positive decision,” Hutton commented in a note to investors following the announcement.

Finlayson has over 35 years experience in the oil and gas industry, joined BG Group from Royal Dutch Shell plc in August 2010 and was appointed to the board in November 2011.

During his time at Shell, Chris was a member of the Exploration and Production (E&P) leadership team. He held a number of senior leadership positions in E&P and LNG in Russia, Nigeria, Brunei and the North Sea.

As managing director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Finlayson led Nigeria’s largest and most complex oil and gas joint venture. He was also Shell’s director of Nigeria LNG Ltd, the second largest LNG plant in the world at the time.

As executive vice president Shell EP Russia, he was assigned to manage the cost and schedule issues at Sakhalin 2, Shell’s largest integrated oil and gas LNG project at the time, and improve relations with the Russian government and Gazprom. He also managed Gazprom’s entry into the project as a joint venture partner. He was asked to remain chairman of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, when Gazprom became the majority shareholder.

Sir Frank Chapman, Chief Executive BG Group  Credit: VisMedia

Sir Chapman will step down from the board and group executive committee on December 31, 2012, and will, as planned, continue to work as an advisor in support of the chief executive transition until his retirement in June 2013. In June this year, Sir Frank began treatment for very early stage myeloma. The course of medication has been very effective in dealing with Sir Frank’s condition and in 2013 he will undergo 3 to 4 weeks hospital treatment to consolidate the excellent progress made.

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