Ascent Has New CEO for New Strategy
The CEO of eastern Europe-focused minnow Ascent Resources Colin Hutchinson has resigned to pursue other interests with immediate effect, the company announced July 29. His successor is John Buggenhagen, the COO. Buggenhagen was picked for his knowledge of possible takeover targets in the region, having worked in Poland and elsewhere.
The company needs a new strategy for growth as it contests the Slovenian government in several legal forums, following a regulatory decision regarding a well at Petisovci. And it needs to cut costs to fund these and other activities.
The chairman Cameron Davies has also resigned and the new non-executive chairman is former investment banker Louis Castro. Castro said that under Hutchinson's and Davies' stewardship, Ascent negotiated a gas sales agreement with Croatian INA; secured access to the export pipeline; and successfully brought Petisovci into production in 2017.
Buggenhagen said he was "delighted to lead Ascent going forward. While the ongoing permitting delays at Petisovci have been frustrating, the board strongly believes that the key to the future of the company lies in regional diversification of the portfolio."
He said central and eastern Europe had "several exciting exploration and production opportunities" and it was his intention to identify the best of these and negotiate any new potential transactions.
Costs will be reduced at every level and the new CEO aims to more than halve the company's net cash outflow without compromising on its legal, regulatory and other obligations. Hutchinson will continue to act as finance director for the time being, on a part time basis.