BG Group names CEO candidates

LONDON Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:03am EST

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LONDON Nov 15 (Reuters) - British gas producer BG Group Plc kicked off the race to succeed Chief Executive Frank Chapman on Tuesday, naming three executives who it said were being considered for the top job, while adding an external hire was also possible.

Chapman, who has helped build BG from a UK-focussed player into a $74 billion international oil and gas giant, will step down before the end of 2013, the group said.

Chris Finlayson, managing director for Europe and central Asia, Chief Financial Officer Fabio Barbosa and Martin Houston, managing director for the Americas and head of BG's liquefied natural gas unit, will be given additional duties to test their suitability for the CEO role, a BG spokesman said.

"We have identified three internal candidates .. This is all part of an orderly succession plan," he said.

Finlayson will take over BG Advance, the unit responsible for BG's exploration strategy, capital projects and IT & technology capability. He will also be responsible for overseeing a possible change of BG Group's organisation.

Barbosa, who replaced the man who was previously seen as Chapman's likely successor, Ashley Almanza, less than a year ago, will add strategy and portfolio development to his current duties. Martin Houston will become chief operating officer in addition to his existing roles.

Long-time CFO Almanza stood down from BG's board and resigned as chief financial officer in March this year. He remains a vice president at the company.

Last month, BG named Andrew Gould, current chairman of oil services group Schlumberger, as its next chairman. Gould will take over early next year and will lead the CEO search.

While BG executives frequently step down at age 60, a spokesman said this was not an obligation.

This would help Finlayson, a highly regarded former Shell executive, who could be 57 when Chapman stands down. The long lead times on projects in the oil industry means CEO's length of tenure is longer than in many other industries.

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