A bit more insight into the sudden departure of WPX Energy CEO Ralph Hill that MDN told you about on Tuesday (see WPX Energy CEO Ralph Hill is Out, Interim CEO James Bender is In). WPX’s former parent, Williams, is being jerked around by corporate raiders who have become its largest investor (see Bad News: Corporate Raiders Take Aim at Williams). In what seems like very strange timing (coordinated attack?) WPX is also being jerked around–in this case by its second largest investor, Taconic Capital Advisors. It was Taconic that apparently wanted Hill gone and one of their own installed on the board. So WPX announced yesterday they’ve reached an “agreement” with Taconic to expand the board by one member, adding Michael Schwartz, a principal and portfolio manager at Taconic, to the WPX board.
It’s all rather ominous if you ask us. Never a good thing to have so-called investors who don’t give a fig about the company jerking management around this way and that with everybody running for cover and nothing constructive getting done. Here’s the statement issued yesterday by WPX about their “agreement” (at the end of a investment gun barrel) with Taconic: