Mr. Ellyard has been Managing Director and CEO since August 1996 and has overseen the Company's international expansion into petroleum projects in eight countries in Africa, South America and the Australian region. During his eight year tenure as CEO, Hardman has grown from a junior explorer with a market capitalization of less than AU$5 million to over AU$1 billion, largely resulting from the significant oil & gas discoveries in offshore Mauritania, West Africa, a project pioneered by Hardman.
Mr. Scott Spencer, an Executive Director of the Company, will be Acting Chief Executive Officer until the appointment of a new CEO. Mr. Spencer has been a key member of the Hardman management team since 1994, being intimately involved in strategic and operational decisions. He is ably assisted by Hardman's established executive management team, well experienced in the discovery and development of petroleum reserves and corporate management.
The Board of directors has appointed Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. to conduct an international search for a new CEO to manage the next phase of the Company's growth. It is anticipated that the new appointment can be made early in the New Year. Russell Reynolds is a leading executive search agency which has recently conducted successful CEO searches for Woodside and Santos.
Mr. Ellyard commented: "It was a difficult decision to step aside as CEO of Hardman after eight years of very exciting and enormously successful growth for the Company. Although this decision has been made reluctantly, the change in leadership comes at a time when Hardman is strongly placed to become a significant oil and gas producer with an international focus. The Company now has established petroleum reserves and expects to become a significant oil producer in 2006.
"Moreover, it has large upside potential in both discovered resources and undrilled prospects. Hardman is also financially sound with over AU$300 million in cash reserves and no current debt, although a bank facility for Chinguetti development is being finalized.
" I will now take a holiday from executive management and spend more time with my family after many years of international travel and working long hours developing the Company's oil & gas interests. This change will also allow me to pursue other interests and continue other existing non-executive board roles. I will be able to relax a little, confident that Hardman Resources has the management and infrastructure to continue its rapid growth into one of Australia's most successful oil and gas companies."
Hardman's Chairman, Alan Burns, commented: "Ted has given us the most marvelous service over a long period of time. Ted's contribution has been an essential and major part of our success. I thank him for his dedication and achievements and understand his desire to spend more time with his family and wish him and his family the very best for the future."
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