Santos CEO Knox stepping down, fueling takeover speculation

Santos Ltd. CEO David Knox is stepping down as the oil-price collapse is putting pressure on the Australian oil producer, fueling speculation that Santos could become a takeover target, Bloomberg says.

Knox plans to depart the company once a successor has been named. With the downward slide of oil prices, Santos has experienced an 82% drop in first-half profit. The company is coping by cutting spending and jobs, while identifying potential asset sales. Bloomberg notes that Santos shares have fallen 62% in the last year, compared with a 27% loss for rival Woodside.

The company has stated that Santos Chairman Peter Coates will assume the role of executive chairman and take responsibility for conducting the strategic review, with the assistance of Deutsche Bank AG and Lazard Ltd. as advisors.

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