WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) reports that Ralph A. Hill will step down as president, CEO, and board member of the company and that the board of directors has appointed James J. Bender as interim president, CEO, and board member, effective Dec. 31. Hill will remain with the company through March 31, 2014, to assist with the transition of his duties.
Hill spent over 32 years with Williams (NYSE:WMB) and WPX, working in various facets of the energy business. Over the past decade, he and his team were instrumental in building WPX into one of the nation’s largest domestic natural gas producers, culminating in WPX’s successful spinoff from Williams as of Jan. 1, 2012.
Bender has served as WPX’s senior vice president and general counsel and as a member of the company’s executive leadership team since the company spun off from Williams. Prior to WPX, Bender served for nine years as senior vice president and general counsel of Williams.
A search committee of the board of directors has been established, and the executive recruiting firm of Spencer Stuart has been retained to assist in an external CEO search. Bender will serve as the interim CEO until the selection process is complete.
Dennis C. Cameron will replace Bender as WPX’s senior vice president and general counsel. Cameron joined the company in January 2012 after nearly 25 years in private practice and most recently served as vice president and deputy general counsel of WPX.
The company does not expect to make any additional senior leadership changes at this time.
WPX Energy is an exploration and production company focused on developing its significant oil and gas reserves, particularly in the Piceance, Williston, and Appalachian basins. WPX also has domestic operations in the San Juan and Powder River basins, as well as a 69% interest in Apco Oil and Gas International.