Paul Blakeley, Cedric Fontenit and David Neuhauser have joined the board, while Jerry Korpan and Paul Ebdale have tendered their resignation as directors. In addition, Mr. Ebdale has tendered his resignation as chief executive officer of the Company and subsidiaries and Mr. Blakeley has been appointed as Executive Chairman. Michael Horn has been appointed Interim CEO in charge of supervising the transition towards a new strategy for the Company and focussing on M&A activity.
The Company wishes to thank Mr. Korpan and Mr. Ebdale for their many years of dedicated service to the Company. Mr. Ebdale was a founding member of Mitra in 2005 and was instrumental in building the Company’s portfolio of exploration and development assets in Asia Pacific. Mr. Korpan has been a director of the Company since 2008 and assumed the Chairman’s role in 2014. In this role, Mr. Korpan has provided significant advice and leadership to the Company.
Under Mr. Blakeley, Mitra will focus on acquiring production in the near term and further enhancing value through follow-on development activity. Mr. Blakeley brings a track record of executing such a strategy with 35 years’ of energy experience, most recently (since 1994) at Talisman Energy Inc. (‘Talisman’). As Executive Vice President Asia Pacific & Middle East, Mr. Blakeley led the building of Talisman Asia Pacific into a multibillion NAV powerhouse, and will bring that experience to his new role at Mitra.
Mr. Blakeley is a recognised industry leader, influential in collaborating to change the upstream landscape through Government interaction, and with a reputation for strong leadership and building highly engaged and high performing teams. He has a passion for safety, for the development of national talent in the upstream sector and for creating results-focused organisations.
Mr. Blakeley holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Geology and Chemistry from Bedford College (University of London), and in 2002 he was conferred as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.Mr. Blakeley commented: ‘I’m very excited to be engaged in this new venture with Mitra and apply my experience, consistent with the acquisition thesis and track record we achieved at Talisman.’ ‘I look forward to working at Mitra to recreate our success at Talisman, by acquiring primarily operated interests with production enhancement options and with potential for early development of low-risk discoveries, focusing on opportunities where we have a differentiated view on value uplift.’
Michael Horn has over 25 years of Oil & Gas industry experience, largely in Asia Pacific, with assignments in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, the last 12 of which were with Talisman. He has identified and closed a number of key transactions which were a vital part of Talisman’s success in Asia, and has a strong reputation as a dealmaker within Asia amongst industry stakeholders and the investment community. In 2011, the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade conferred upon Mr. Horn its highest industry award in recognition of Michael’s 20 year contribution to the oil and gas industry in Vietnam. Mr. Horn has a Bachelor of Law degree from Dundee University, a Diploma in Oil & Gas Law also from Dundee, and a Diploma in Legal Practise, from Edinburgh University.
In connection with the appointments of Messrs. Blakeley and Horn, the Company will complete a small private placement with these two individuals of a total of 700,000 common shares at a price of $0.49 per common share for gross proceeds of $343,000. The proceeds will be used by the Company for general working capital requirements. The Company has also granted a total of 750,000 stock options with an exercise price of $0.49 which are exercisable for 10 years. The options will vest in equal tranches over a period of three years.
A number of the major shareholders in the Company have expressed their support in providing financing for acquisitions consistent with the new strategy of delivering short term production and enhanced value creation through follow-on development activity.
Tony Chedraoui, Chief Investment Officer of Tyrus Capital S.A.M., added: ‘Under new leadership, with no debt on the balance sheet and strong financial backing, Mitra is now very well positioned to seize on optimum market conditions in the current low oil price environment. We look forward to working with Mr. Blakeley and the team in the transformation of Mitra into an operator of producing assets and deploying capital in support of the management team’s acquisition strategy.’
The addition of Mr. Fontenit and Mr. Neuhauser will bring two shareholder representatives to the Board to support the new leadership in delivering on its acquisition strategy and strengthen the Board with their capital markets and M&A expertise.
Mr. Fontenit is a senior member of the investment team at Tyrus Capital S.A.M. Over the course of his sixteen-year career in investment banking and hedge fund industry, Mr. Fontenit gained extensive experience in advising on and structuring M&A and investments across issuers’ capital structure. He joined Tyrus Capital in 2009, where he has had significant investment experience in the oil & gas and mining industries, among others. Mr. Fontenit has a MSc in Management from the Hautes Etudes Commerciales in France and a MA in Law from Paris-XI University.
Mr. Neuhauser is Founder and Managing Director of Livermore Partners based in Northbrook, Illinois. Livermore is a private alternative asset manager servicing Institutions, high-net worth clientele and highly-regarded private equity sponsors. Mr. Neuhauser received his B.A. with concentrations in Economics from Northeastern Illinois University and has conducted Graduate studies in Economics and Sociology from Roosevelt University of Chicago.