With a track record spanning more than three decades, former Halliburton CFO Mark McCollum is taking over Weatherford International as the service company’s new CEO.
McCollum is well-known to the industry. Analysts at Barclays said in a note to investors that after leading finance at Halliburton since 2008, he was on track to replace CEO Dave Lesar upon his retirement. But after the Halliburton deal to buy Baker Hughes Inc. fell apart last year, his future at the company became less certain, they said.
McCollum brings financial acumen, “which is desperately needed, to a company with a very poor record of cash flow generation, working capital that’s been a problem, a balance sheet with a mountain of debt, and internal controls that have proven to be extremely weak over the past five years,” Barclays wrote.
That particular skillset lines up with goals Weatherford Chairman William Macaulay has laid out for the company.
“Our near-term priorities remain unchanged and focused on driving sustainable free cash flow, higher returns and improved financial flexibility. Furthermore, we remain committed to the core elements of our near-term strategy and will achieve these objectives through debt reduction, non-core asset dispositions and getting back to the basics,” he said in a statement. “The board and I are highly confident that Mark is well suited to lead Weatherford in these efforts and execute a longer-term strategy to position the Company for the next chapter in its evolution.”
Plus, the analysts noted, McCollum has deep knowledge of the competition. In addition to running the numbers at Halliburton, he led the integration team during the Baker Hughes negotiations.
“Turning around Weatherford will be extremely challenging, but we feel Mark McCollum is the best man for the job,” Barclays said.
Apparently, the market agreed. In early trading, shares were up 14 percent on news of McCollum’s appointment, reaching $6.73 per share by late morning.
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