VIENNA, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Austrian oil and gas company OMV will not make a management reshuffle until a strategic review is finished in coming months, its chairman said on Thursday, amid speculation about the future of the group.
The statement came two days after OMV made a surprise announcement that head of exploration and production Jaap Huijskes would leave the company in the first half of 2016, more than two years before his contract ends.
Huijskes had been billed by some as a potential successor to Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss, whose contract runs to March 2017.
An OMV spokesman said a review expected to be finished within six months centred on changing conditions on the gas market and the company’s gas business, but not its entire strategy.
OMV is increasingly focused on its upstream exploration projects to cut reliance on refining and marketing operations and made its biggest acquisition by buying Statoil North Sea assets worth $2.65 billion last year.
“We have to first adjust OMV’s business model to changing market mechanisms. A strategic review is running since Q1 2014,” said Rudolf Kemler, chief executive of Austrian state holding company OIAG, which has a 31.5 percent stake in OMV.
“It only makes sense to go into structural and staff questions on the basis of the findings from this project,” Kemler, who also chairs the OMV supervisory board, said in a statement in response to media reports.
Austrian newspaper Kurier quoted people familiar with the company as saying Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), which owns nearly 25 percent of OMV, would like to see Roiss replaced.
Kemler denied this and also rumours he was interested in becoming CEO, saying there were no “power struggles” at OMV.
Referring to changes in the oil and gas market, Kemler said: “Taking into consideration massive structural changes, not acting at all or acting too late is not an option for us. We have to calibrate the company quickly.”
Kemler denied speculation OMV’s 36 percent stake in plastics products maker Borealis could be sold to IPIC, which already owns a 64 percent stake. (Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by David Holmes)