Athabasca shares plunge as president leaves company

Mon May 6, 2013 3:01pm EDT

Related Topics

* No explanation for president's exit

* Company forms executive committee to improve operations

* Shares down 5.4 pct in late afternoon trading

CALGARY, Alberta, May 6 (Reuters) - Shares of Athabasca Oil Corp fell as much as 9.4 percent on Monday after the company said its president had left the company and it formed an executive committee to improve its operations.

Athabasca did not give a reason for its president's departure.

Shares of Athabasca, an oil sands and unconventional oil developer, slid 34 Canadian cents to C$5.96 by late afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange, after earlier touching C$5.71, the lowest since its 2010 initial public offering.

The company said in a release that its president, Bryan Gould, had left the company. Gould, a former Royal Dutch Shell Plc executive who joined Athabasca in 2009, was appointed to the position in November.

The company's share price has fallen by nearly half since the beginning of the year over concerns about the regulatory progress of its Dover oil sands project, 60 percent owned by PetroChina, and lower production from its light oil division caused by infrastructure restraints.

Gould was responsible for day-to-day management of the company and its operations.

Sveinung Swarte, the company's chief executive, will take on Gould's role.

Athabasca has formed an executive committee, including Swarte, his senior managers and a board member.

"The committee is intended to refine the company's operational performance plan, targeting top-tier operational performance while incorporating operational flexibility consistent with corporate financing," the company said in a release. (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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