Woodside Announces Succession Plan for CEO
The Board of Woodside advises that the employment contract of the Chief Executive Officer, John Akehurst, is due to expire on April 2, 2005, at which time he would have served nine years as Chief Executive Officer.
In view of the Board's wish to see a new Chief Executive Officer at that time and, given the long-term nature of the company's projects and initiatives presently under consideration, the Board will now begin a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.
It is the intention of the Board that Mr. Akehurst will continue in his current role until a new Chief Executive Officer takes office and the handover to his successor is complete.
The Board has agreed to pay Mr. Akehurst his current salary and a pro rata short-term incentive until he leaves the company. Loans to Mr. Akehurst under the Woodside Employee Share Plan will be increased from A$5.7 million to A$6 million and be required to be repaid within three years of his departure. He also has entitlements under the Company superannuation scheme.
On leaving, he will be paid an agreed A$3 million as full and final settlement of his employment with Woodside.
The Board believes it is appropriate for a new Chief Executive Officer to join the company now as it continues its international growth strategy and begins its next growth phase that includes a capital expenditure program on new projects of more than A$5 billion over the next five years.
The Board wishes Mr. Akehurst well for the future and acknowledges his leadership during a period of significant milestones for Woodside, including the 10th anniversary of continued LNG exports to Japan from the North West Shelf Venture, Woodside's response to two takeover attempts, Australia's first LNG contract with China, new LNG sales to Korea, and the discovery of the Laminaria-Corallina, Chinguetti, Enfield and Otway oil and gas fields.
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