SandRidge CEO Sells Shares Days After Truce With Activist Investor

HOUSTON - SandRidge Energy Inc. Chief Executive Tom Ward sold about 13.5% of his SandRidge stock days after the company reached a truce with an activist investor that could lead to the executive's departure.

Mr. Ward sold 3.7 million shares of SandRidge in two transactions Friday and Monday, netting about $21 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He still owns nearly 23.5 million shares, or close to 5% of SandRidge's shares according to figures from the company's website.

The move came in the wake of the partial success last week of a months-long campaign by hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital Management, which sought to replace SandRidge's board, including Mr. Ward. The campaign ended in a settlement, under which four of the fund's nominees would join the board.

Under the deal, Mr. Ward will keep his position as chief executive and board chairman for the time being, but the board will have to decide his fate by June 30. If it keeps him in place, three current SandRidge board members will have to leave and an additional nominee by TPG-Axon will join, giving the activist investor a majority of the seats on the board.

If Mr. Ward is terminated, current chief financial officer James Bennett will become interim chief executive and the board will conduct a search for a successor.

A spokesman for SandRidge did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The board's decision will come after a review of the company's strategy and costs, including an independent firm's review of land deals the company entered with entities controlled by relatives of Mr. Ward, according to the settlement announced last week.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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