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Genel appoints ex-Shell executive as CFO in leadership reshuffle

Iraqi Kurdistan-focussed oil producer Genel Energy (GENL.L) has appointed an outsider as chief financial officer, diversifying a leadership team that has been dominated by Turkish executives since the departure of its two co-founders.

Genel said on Wednesday it had appointed Esa Ikaheimonen to head its finance team, following the departure of CFO Ben Monaghan.

Ikaheimonen, who starts on July 3 based in London, recently worked as CFO for drilling companies Transocean (RIGN.S) and Seadrill (SDRL.OL) after spending about 20 years at Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), where he was vice president of finance at the firm’s Africa exploration and production business.

“Importantly, he is to be based in London, which is important given the increasing Turkish influence over and ownership of the business,” analysts at Stifel wrote.

Shares in Genel were down 0.3 percent at 0842 GMT.

Genel has seen a substantial leadership reshuffle in recent months amid a steep share price drop over the past three years following two oil reserve downgrades of its main Taq Taq oilfield, failed exploration elsewhere and weak oil prices.

Co-founders Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, and Nathaniel Rothschild announced their departures in recent months, followed by board members Chakib Sbiti and Simon Lockett as well as CFO Monaghan.

Genel’s board was left dominated by some of its Turkish shareholders, who are among the country’s richest families, until the ousting of Tolga Bilgin by other shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting this month.

Genel is now focused on developing its gas fields in Iraqi Kurdistan and is in talks with Turkish state-backed energy firm TEC to become a partner in the project.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Dale Hudson and Louise Heavens)

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