Canadian Manufacturing

Chinese-owned Nexen dismisses CEO Kevin Reinhart

CNOOC executive vice-president Fang Zhi will be Nexen's new boss.

CALGARY—Nexen Energy, the Calgary-based oil and gas company acquired last year by Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC Ltd., is replacing Kevin Reinhart as CEO.

CNOOC executive vice-president Fang Zhi will be Nexen’s new boss.

CNOOC made the decision because it wanted to bring in someone with “operational and technical depth,” said spokeswoman Diane Kossman.

On paper it would seem Reinhart had plenty of the desired experience. He ushered Nexen through its contentious sale to CNOOC last year for $15.1 billion.

Formerly, he served as interim president and CEO of Nexen Inc. as well as the company’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer, senior vice-president and CFO, senior vice-president of Corporate Planning and Business Development, treasurer and director of Risk Management. Reinhart joined Nexen Inc. as Controller in 1994.

Before joining the company, he held senior management positions in a public accounting firm.

Reinhart’s professional bio entry on Nexen’s website has already been removed.

Kossman said the leadership change is “not associated with any one thing.”

The company says Fang is well known to Nexen’s leadership and that the company’s strategy and priorities remain unchanged.

Kossman said the CEO switch does not conflict with any commitments CNOOC would have made to Ottawa to get the deal through.

“Nexen’s senior management team does continue to lead the organization and there are no issues associated with our personnel management. It’s like any other organization: we’re continually reassessing business needs and need to make the necessary adjustments.”

The deal caused Ottawa to rethink its rules on ownership of Alberta’s vast oilsands resources by state-owned foreign enterprises.

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