By ALISON SIDER
Marathon Oil announced Thursday that its long-time chief
executive, Clarence Cazalot Jr., will retire this year and will
be replaced by ExxonMobil executive Lee Tillman.
Mr. Tillman, who helped manage projects around the world for the
ExxonMobil, will take the reins at Marathon on Aug. 1 when Mr.
Cazalot steps down.
Mr. Cazalot has served as Marathon's CEO for nearly 14 years
and is approaching the company's mandated retirement age of 65
years old for executives. He will remain chairman of the
company's board through the end of the year.
Mr. Cazalot saw Marathon through major changes -- the
company separated from what became United States Steel Corp.
and became a standalone under his leadership in 2002.
More recently, Mr. Cazalot oversaw Marathon's transition
from an integrated oil company that was heavily focused on its
international operations to an independent exploration and production company
that has seen its production boosted by its focus on US shale
oil formations such as the Eagle Ford and the Bakken.
Marathon was one of the first exploration and production companies
of its class to take notice of the promise of so-called tight
oil from shale fields, which, due to hydraulic fracturing
techniques first applied in natural
gas fields, have led a resurgence in US oil production.
But Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said picking its
new leader from the ranks of the world's largest integrated oil
company is a sign that Marathon has no plans to abandon its
global business model.
"Their current growth is more focused on domestic and
unconventional formations than it historically has been, but
this hire suggests that there is definitely a remaining culture
within the company that is open to international opportunities
and large projects," Mr. Molchanov said. "Mr.
Tillman's global footprint in many ways matches
Mr. Tillman, 51 years old, most recently was vice president
of engineering for ExxonMobil Development Co., has spent his
career at Exxon and has worked in Jakarta, Indonesia; Aberdeen,
Scotland; Stavanger, Norway; Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Dallas
and New Orleans.
Dave Roberts, Marathon's former chief operating officer, had
widely been seen as a possible successor for Mr. Cazalot, but
abruptly left the company late last year.
Marathon Oil was up 1.5% at $33.88 in Thursday trading. The
stock is up 10% this year.
Dow Jones Newswires