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SandRidge Energy promotes Lawler to COO

Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Inc. (NYSE: SD) has appointed David C. Lawler as COO and provided an update of its strategic  review, spurred by the oil and natural gas company's sixth largest shareholder, TPG-Axon Capital, in November.

Last fall, TPG-Axon Capital sent a letter to the SandRidge board of directors requesting management changes in the form of additional board representation from the largest shareholders and as well as a request for the company to begin the process of exploring strategic alternatives to unlock shareholder value.

Since the announcement on March 13 of the company's settlement with TPG-Axon, the board and its committees have been actively engaged in a strategic review of the company, its operations and its governance practices. Those actions include:

Stephen C. Beasley, Edward W. Moneypenny, Alan J. Weber and Dan A. Westbrook were appointed to the board on March 14, 2013.  Simultaneously, the board appointed Beasley as chair of the compensation committee, Moneypenny to the audit committee and the newly formed strategy and planning committee, Weber as chair of the nominating and governance committee, and Westbrook to the nominating and governance committee and as chair of the strategy and planning committee.

The Strategy and Planning Committee, consisting of Messrs. Westbrook, Moneypenny, Serota and Brewer, has met several times to review potential adjustments to the Company's planned capital and operating expenditures, including reductions in rig count and general and administrative expenses. 

Certain actions to reduce expenditures have already been taken, including the sale of company planes and significantly reducing advertising and sponsorship expenditures.

The committee expects its initial review to be concluded, and to make recommendations to the full board, soon. The strategy and planning committee is also evaluating a variety of options for addressing the company's future capital needs and lessening any funding shortfall, including potential asset monetizations.

The audit committee has engaged Mayer Brown LLP to review the shareholder allegations relating to transactions in oil and gas properties in the Mississippian play by Tom L. Ward, the company's CEO, and entities affiliated with members of his family.  The audit committee is targeting completion of that review by June 15, 2013.

The compensation committee is currently assessing all aspects of SandRidge's compensation program with the company's management and its new independent compensation consultant, Frederick W. Cook & Co. Inc. Among other things being considered by the compensation committee is a transition toward an objective performance based compensation plan.  The compensation committee expects this review to be completed in the coming months.

James D. Bennett, SandRidge's president and CFO, commented on Lawler's appointment: "Dave has been an invaluable member of the executive team over the last two years. His leadership and rigorous focus on returns have been critical to our success in the Mississippian play. His teams have secured multiple competitive advantages in the region and positioned us as the lowest cost developer and most efficient operator there."

SandRidge was one of the first oil and natural gas companies to move on the emerging Mississippian, and is a leading operator in the oil-rich play that straddles Oklahoma and western Kansas. According to a recent presentation, SandRidge holds roughly 1,850,000 net acres in the area and has produced 35.9 MBoe/d (4Q12).

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