Jan 20 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas company Apache Corp announced the retirement of Chief Executive Steve Farris, effective Tuesday, and named John Christmann, chief operating officer of North America, as his replacement.
Farris, who has helmed Apache for 14 years, will continue as non-executive chairman of the board until May 1, when he would retire from the board, the company said.
Christmann, who has been with Apache for 18 years, takes charge at a time when the company is evaluating a sale or spinoff of its international operations to focus on North American shale wells.
The company, under pressure from activist-investor Jana Partners, in December agreed to sell stakes in two liquefied natural gas developments, Wheatstone in Australia and Kitimat in Canada, for $2.75 billion to Woodside Petroleum, Australia's top oil and gas producer.
Apache is still to appoint a new full-time chief financial officer. Alfonso Leon resigned as the finance head in October, eight months after he was appointed to the job.
Shares of Apache were down 1.6 percent at $61.25 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
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