NZOG chief Andrew Knight to leave before the end of the month

Andrew Knight will depart the Wellington-based company on August 26.

New Zealand Oil & Gas [NZX: NZO] chief executive Andrew Knight will leave the energy exploration company before the end of the month to pursue other business interests, ending almost five years in charge.

Mr Knight will depart the Wellington-based company on August 26, two days after it reports its annual results "to pursue his business interests outside the company," NZOG said in a statement. He took over as chief executive in December 2011 and had been a non-executive director before that. Mr Knight will also resign his director roles with the company's subsidiaries, including Cue Energy.

"Over the past year New Zealand Oil & Gas has adapted to a changed economic context and I am pleased to have contributed to a significant transformation in the company's focus and scale," Mr Knight said. "Coinciding with this process of change, the time feels right for a new chief executive to take the company into its next phase."

Last week Mr Knight told investors the board was regularly debating whether to resume dividends after returning to profit, though no announcement was imminent, and indicated NZOG would probably be a buyer of part of a chunk of the Kupe oil and gas field half-stake owned by Origin Energy should the Australian energy giant decide to quit its only remaining New Zealand investment of significant size.

The company has responded to a slump in global oil prices by reducing exploration spending, quitting its secondary ASX listing, and lowering directors' fees by not replacing former chairman Peter Griffiths.

NZOG's board will appoint an acting chief executive and start looking for a long-term replacement, it said.

The shares last traded at 47.5c and have gained 12% so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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