LONDON, July 21 Oil exploration company Gulf
Keystone Petroleum has withdrawn its opposition to four
directors proposed by shareholder M&G Recovery Fund, ending a
row with its biggest investors over corporate governance.
Gulf Keystone said in a statement late on Saturday that it
had reached a "constructive agreement" with shareholders
regarding the shape of its board.
Meanwhile, M&G Recovery Fund, holding 5.1 percent of the
company, and Capital Research Global Investors, with 5.6
percent, will back the appointment of former Glencore chairman
Simon Murray as non-executive chairman, the firm said.
"I am pleased that unity of purpose has been restored,"
Murray said. "... We can now return our focus to the important
objective of creating value for all shareholders and continue to
deliver operational success."
Gulf Keystone, which is focused on oil fields in the
Kurdistan region of Iraq, this month appointed Murray to head
the board, splitting the chairman and chief executive roles to
M&G, the fund management division of insurer Prudential
, had proposed candidates Philip Dimmock, John Bell,
Thomas Shull and Jeremy Asher after criticising governance and
"excessive" executive pay at the company.
Gulf Keystone said its board would recommend that
shareholders vote against M&G's choices, arguing that they
lacked a "consistent track record of successful operation and
The firm has been beset by difficulties, including
Kurdistan's long-running dispute with the central government of
Iraq over payments for oil, and a legal challenge to the
ownership of the company's oil fields.