Oklahoma City’s Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. is under new leadership effective this week following the resignation of its President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Paul F. Blanchard Jr.. On Monday, he stepped down as a member of the Board, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
The Panhandle Board of Directors appointed Chad L. Stephens, Panhandle’s Lead Independent Director, to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer. Stephens has been a member of the Board since 2017 and serves on the Audit Committee and the Compensation Committee. He will remain a Director, and the role of Lead Independent Director will be assumed by Mark T. Behrman, a member of the Board since 2017.
Like Blanchard, Stephens most recently was employed at Range Resources Corporation. There, he served as Senior Vice President – Corporate Development of Range Resources Corporation , a position he held from 2002 to 2018. He joined Range in 1990 as Senior Vice President – Southwest. While at Range he was responsible for the origination, valuation and acquisition or divestiture of over $4.0 billion of oil and gas producing properties. Mr. Stephens served on Range’s internal hedging committee and was responsible for the oversight of all gas, oil and NGL marketing and sales.
From 1988 to 1990, Mr. Stephens was with Duer Wagner & Co., an independent oil and gas producer. Before that, he was an independent oil operator in Midland, Texas for four years. From 1979 to 1984, Mr. Stephens was with Cities Service Company and HNG Oil Company.
“With its existing inventory of undeveloped minerals, substantial free cash flow and modest leverage, Panhandle has significant potential to participate in the active consolidation of minerals and increase shareholder value,” Mr. Stephens stated. “Given the opportunities that are available in the minerals space, I’m excited to take over the role of interim CEO, and to work with the Board to execute the optimal strategy of further enhancing shareholder returns. We have a dedicated and experienced technical team and a well-developed corporate platform on which to build.”
Stephens said that over the next several months his primary focus, in collaboration with the Board and the management team, will be on evaluating the investment opportunities available to Panhandle.
In thanking Blanchard for his leadership at Panhandle, Behrman explained the timing of his resignation coincides with the board’s evaluation of the company’s strategy.
” Panhandle is making an explicit shift with an increasing focus on the mineral acquisition market. Paul has played an important role in the history of the Company, both as Chief Operating Officer from 2010 to 2017, and as Chief Executive Officer since then, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”