Former BHP CEO Takes Reins at Maverick

Former BHP Billiton Petroleum CEO J. Michael Yeager has joined Maverick Drilling & Exploration Ltd., as its chief executive officer and executive chairman.

Yeager will oversee Maverick’s planned expansion of its operational capacity and drilling activity.

“The company is progressing very well in all respects, currently drills exclusively for high margin oil, and has a very good track record,” said Yeager in an Oct. 14 press release.

Yeager’s appointment also positions Maverick with one of its key differentiators, which is to own and operate its own drilling fleet.

Maverick’s current Executive Chairman Don Henrich will retire from the company after over 37 years. Henrich will leave his current role Nov. 1 after assisting with the transition for Yeager. Henrich will serve as a non-executive director starting Nov. 1 for a period of time, Maverick said in an Oct. 14 press release.

Executive Director Bob Simmons will also retire from Maverick’s board of directors and will leave the company Nov. 1, but will serve as consultant to the company for some time.

In his new role, Yeager will be paid an annual salary of $1.3 million and 15 million ordinary shares in Maverick and, subject to shareholder approval, 10 million performance rights, which will vest 12 months from the commencement date, subject to continued employment. Each performance right will share one ordinary share to be granted upon vesting.

Maverick, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, will continue to be based in Houston, Texas. A U.S. stock listing as an American depositary receipt is expected to be complete before the end of this year, the company reported.

Yeager served as chief executive of BHP Billiton for over seven years before retiring from BHP Billiton in July. Prior to joining BHP Billiton, Yeager also served in various global executive roles with Exxon Mobil Corporation over a 26-year period.

Yeager’s departure was first announced in April. At that time, the company announced it would restructure BHP’s group management committee to remove a management layer between operations and the CEO position. The move was intended to help drive the company’s productivity agenda, BHP said in an April 18 press release.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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