Helge Lund to leave BG after $70bn Shell deal
Former Statoil boss Helge Lund is to step down as chief executive of BG Group after Royal Dutch Shell completes its takeover of the company in early 2016, the Anglo-Dutch group’s chief executive Ben van Beurden has said in an interview.
Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive, told CNBC that Lund, who only became chief executive this February “will want to do his own thing” after the deal completes.
“He’s made clear he’s supportive of the deal,” he added.
The two companies on Wednesday morning announced that BG Group’s board had agreed to Shell’s $70bn cash-and-shares offer for the company, a premium of around 50 percent to the company’s present share price.
In the statement, Lund committed to carrying out his original 2015 business plan.
“The transaction will take time to complete, during which my team and I will remain committed to BG and our shareholders, and to safely delivering our 2015 business plan,” he said.
In the statement he stressed that Shell’s offer delivered “attractive returns” to BG Group shareholders and had “a strong strategic logic”.
“BG's deep water positions and strengths in exploration, liquefaction and LNG shipping and marketing will combine well with Shell's scale, development expertise and financial strength,” he said. “The consolidated business will be strongly placed to develop the growth projects in BG's portfolio.”
The deal will see Lund preparing to step down from BG Group before he has had any chance to put his stamp on the company.
The Norwegian was tempted to join BG with a £12m “golden hello” and a dramatically higher salary, after a ten-year reign at the head of Statoil.
As head of Statoil Lund showed a flair for dramatic deals, pulling off a merger with the oil and gas division of Norsk Hydro, the country’s second largest oil company, before buying the new merged company positions in the Canadian oil sands, and in central and south America.
BG had been struggling ever since its highly regarded chief executive Frank Chapman stepped down in 2013 at the same time as a slump in oil prices, with Chapman’s replacement Chris Finlayson lasting only 16 months.