Timothy J. Cutt has joined Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE:CIE) as CEO and as a Class I member of the board of directors, each effective July 2, 2016. Cutt brings over 30 years of oil and gas experience, most recently as president, petroleum of BHP Billiton where he was accountable for its global oil and gas business. Cutt assumes the CEO role from Joseph H. Bryant who has resigned as the company’s chairman of the board and CEO, and as a member of the board of directors, each effective June 1, 2016.
In connection with Bryant’s resignation, William P. Utt, the company’s lead independent director, has been appointed as interim chairman of the board of directors and Van P. Whitfield, the company’s executive vice president and COO, has been appointed as interim CEO, each effective June 1, 2016. Whitfield has been appointed as a Class II member of the board of directors.
Before joining BHP Billiton, Cutt held positions in engineering, operations and senior management for 25 years with Mobil Oil Corp. and then ExxonMobil. During this time he spent 10 years supporting exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico and held positions of President Hibernia Management and Development Co. and President of ExxonMobil de Venezuela. Cutt is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering.
In connection with Cutt’s employment and in accordance with New York Stock Exchange rules regarding employment inducement awards, Cobalt will grant Cutt a one-time initial equity award of service-based restricted shares of the company’s common stock with a value on grant date of $4 million. The award of service-based restricted stock will vest in three equal installments on each of the first three anniversaries of the grant date, subject to Cutt’s continued employment with Cobalt on each such date or a qualifying termination of employment. The award was granted outside of Cobalt’s current equity compensation plan and is intended to qualify as an “employment inducement award” within the meaning of New York Stock Exchange Listing Rule 303A.08, which rule requires public announcement of inducement awards. Except as described above, the inducement award has substantially the same terms and conditions as other awards granted by Cobalt to its executive officers.