Dr. Chris McKeown has been appointed as Commercial Manager. Chris has been with the company since October 2006 in a temporary capacity, working primarily on commercial issues related to the Cheal project. He will now focus on more strategic issues facing the company. Dr McKeown is the former CEO of Arrowhead Energy Ltd and provides the company with a range of skills derived from developing commercial opportunities within the energy sector. He has held a variety of key strategic roles including Upstream Fuels Manager; Business Development Manager and Reservoir Engineer, and has worked on commercial projects in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Chris has a BSc (Hons) (Applied Geology) and PhD (Geology), from the University of Glasgow.
Mr. David Pay has been appointed as Legal Counsel from August 2007. He will work with the Company Secretary in consolidating the company's governance and contracting systems, and providing in-house legal support. David has previously worked as Legal Counsel for Contact Energy and more recently as General Counsel for the Electricity Commission, New Zealand's electricity market oversight body.
Mr. Andy Price has been appointed as Projects Manager. Andy's first focus will be the testing and delivery of the Cardiff resource. He has operational experience gained in the Middle East, North America and Europe covering a period of 23 years. He has an extensive knowledge of the exploration and production challenges relevant to the Taranaki Basin. Most recently, he managed OMV New Zealand's non-operated assets and its drilling preparations for its offshore exploration program and was previously Engineering Manager for Petro-Canada's international division in the UK.
Mrs. Irene Bocock, previously Corporate Accountant, has been appointed as Financial Controller. She is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and has had 20 years experience in chartered accounting. Prior to joining Austral in February 2007, Irene worked in the motor industry.
The Company has granted 800,000 incentive options, as part of the remuneration packages for these new staff. These options replace 500,000 lapsing options, which were held by two former executives. All options are exercisable for 5 years, vesting in three equal tranches over 18 or 24 months, at an exercise price fixed at the closing price on the date of the employee's appointment. For those options recently granted, the price therefore ranges from US$1.02 to US$1.30.
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