By Braden Reddall
Sept 20 (Reuters) - Halliburton Co, the world's second-largest oilfield services company, on Thursday promoted Jeff Miller to the new position of chief operating officer, a move likely to revive speculation about its succession plans.
Miller was most recently senior vice president for global business development and marketing. He has also been in charge of Halliburton's Gulf of Mexico operations, and held country vice president posts in Indonesia and Angola.
"As we continue to target our energy toward the successful execution of our business strategy, it's time to shift day-to-day operations to Jeff so I can further focus on the long-term growth and advancement of the company," David Lesar, Halliburton's 59-year-old chief executive, said in a statement released after the market closed. Halliburton shares closed at $36.13 on Thursday.
Morningstar analyst Stephen Ellis said the move indicated Lesar might be preparing to retire, while also giving a "helpful but by no means definitive hint" about who could potentially replace him.
"Jeff's background certainly makes him well suited for the CEO role," Ellis said.
Halliburton has not had a COO since the job was eliminated in late 2007. L esar held the COO title for three years before taking over from Dick Cheney as Halliburton CEO in 2000.
Analysts have not had a clear view of the company's succession strategy since the 2009 retirement of Cris Gaut, then Halliburton's president of drilling and evaluation, who had once been viewed as a CEO in waiting.
In the past year, Halliburton's two closest rivals, Schlumberger Ltd and Baker Hughes Inc, have brought in new CEOs, both of whom previously held the COO position at their respective firms.