January 26, 2016 / 9:12 PM / 2 years ago

Samson Resources interim CEO to resign, joining exodus of staff

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Bankrupt energy company Samson Resources said its recently appointed interim chief executive plans to resign next month, joining an exodus of staff from the oil-and-gas company.

Interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer Richard Fraley will step down effective Feb. 15, ending a brief tenure that began when he replaced Randy Limbacher who resigned last month, the company said in court papers filed on Monday.

Samson filed for Chapter 11 in September, becoming the largest energy producer to seek bankruptcy last year as oil prices plummeted. It has been struggling to craft an exit plan with support of its creditors.

The departure of Fraley and three vice presidents was disclosed in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in which the company was laying out a proposal for a retention plan to head off a flood of staff departures.

"The employee departure rate has significantly increased since the end of last year," Samson said.

Samson noted its official committee of unsecured creditors supports an incentive program to retain employees.

At the same time, Samson said it is considering whether it will need to reduce its work force in the first half of this year given the industry's downturn.

Samson said its management has also proposed to its board that the company maintain a severance program to maintain morale, though it would be revised to provide three months of base salary instead of six months of base salary.

Samson was acquired in a 2011 leveraged buyout by KKR & Co for $7.2 billion.

Consulting company AlixPartners said earlier this month that the list of exploration and production companies filing for bankruptcy will grow this year if there is not a noteworthy increase in oil and natural gas prices. (Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Tom Hals and Frances Kerry)

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