Mariana Gheorghe, driven away from OMV Petrom (in corporate speak, "available for another challenge")

Ancuţa Stanciu (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
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Mariana Gheorghe, driven away from OMV Petrom (in corporate speak, "available for another challenge")

Sources: Dan Pazara is leaving together with Mariana Gheorghe 

Christina Verchere has been appointed for the remaining part of Mariana Gheorghe's term, namely until April 16th, 2019

The Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom yesterday appointed Christina Verchere as president of the Directorate and CEO of OMV Petrom, replacing Mariana Gheorghe.

The press release of OMV Petrom thinks: "In line with the articles of incorporation of OMV Petrom, the appointment has been made for the remainder of Mariana Gheorghe's term, namely until April 16th, 2019. Christina Verchere has accepted the appointment and will take over the position by May 21st 2018, at the latest. Prior to today's (ed. note: yesterday) meeting of the Supervisory Board, Mariana Gheorghe ended her term as president of the Directorate and CEO of OMV Petrom. The termination will come into effect when her successor takes over, on May 20, 2018 at the latest".

From the "corporate speak" press release, we can understand that after more than ten years as CEO of OMV Petrom, Mariana Gheorghe has been told: "pick up your stuff and leave".

Our sources claim that the relationship between Mariana Gheorghe and Rainer Seele, the head of OMV, had been tense lately; and that other Romanians from OMV Petrom would also leave along with Mariana Gheorghe, including Dan Pazara, Corporate Communications Director at OMV Petrom. Our sources claim that he had become the focus of the Discipline Commission and that he was being criticized for the chaotic distribution of the advertising budgets of tens of millions of Euros.

Mariana Gheorghe, CEO and chairman of the directorate of OMV Petrom, repeatedly refused to participate in this autumn's hearing by the Parliamentary Commission for the investigation of the activity of the ANRE.

In response, Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission for the Investigation of the ANRE, has announced that if Mariana Gheorghe doesn't come before the Commission in person, he would immediately submit to the DNA and the DIICOT the data which the Commission holds: "Following the data and information held by the Parliamentary Investigation Commission your presence here personally is required.

"We want to mention that the questions are addressed to you personally and concern your personal actions. We therefore insist that you honor the request of the Investigation Commission and to say that if you do not show up, the data and information held by the Investigative Commission will be immediately sent to the DIICOT and the DNA for investigation".

Romanian Gabriel Selischi, 2nd place on the short list of candidates for the management of OMV Petrom

There are some voices that criticize the decision of the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom and of the majority shareholder OMV, to appoint a person of a nationality other than Romanian as CEO of OMV Petrom. Apparently Sevil Shhaideh, the representative of the state on the board of the company, was involved in the selection of the new CEO, and the short list of candidates for the position had Gabriel Selischi in the second spot and another Romanian in the fifth. Since 2016, Selischi was the senior vice-president in charge of the activities of the OMV Group in the Australasia area.

Yesterday, before the OMV Petrom announcement, PNL deputy Virgil Popescu told us: "I was expecting the term of Mariana Gheorghe to be extended this year as well, but if, for various reasons, the management of OMV Petrom and majority shareholder OMV thinks that this change is necessary, it would have been a good thing if the new CEO were Romanian. OMV Petrom is a strategic company, in which the Romanian state is a shareholder, and I hope that the PSD government, which clamored during the campaign «Dare to believe you are a Romanian» will ensure that that happens. Furthermore, my sources are saying that Sevil Shhaideh is also on the commission for the selection of the future CEO of OMV Petrom and I publicly call on her to come and say what has been decided, especially since we are talking about a company in which the Romanian government still holds 20.63% of the shares, a strategic company and a major contribution to the state budget. It is time for PM Tudose to put his foot down and impose not a nomination, but the principle itself - that a company of such importance should be led by a Romanian. I don't think we can't find competent Romanians for this position, especially since I know that there are already two Romanians on the shortlist".

The Supervisory Board subsequently announced the appointment of Christina Verchere on the position of Mariana Gheorghe.

On Tuesday night, BURSA reported that one of the topics of discussion between the management of OMV and Klaus Iohannis was the replacement of Mariana Gheorghe.

Christina Verchere began her career in 1993, after completing her studies in Economics at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and has worked for over 20 years in one of the biggest gas and oil companies, in which she held numerous management positions, in Great Britain, the US and Canada. Starting with 2014, she held the position of regional chairman for Asia Pacific, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The management of OMV, meeting with Klaus Iohannis

The management of OMV AG yesterday presented, during the meeting that he had with president Klaus Iohannis, the strategy for the development of the company, which includes an increase in the degree of internationalization of Petrom, in order to exploit the available opportunities in the region, as well as a significant increase in investments starting this year, according to the Presidential Administration.

Our sources told us that no OMV Petrom officials were present yesterday at the meeting with Klaus Iohannis.

The press release of the presidency said: "The CEO of OMV once again discussed the need for the predictability of the fiscal and legislative framework, that would support the companies' performance and the development of a stable and competitive business environment. As for the partnership between OMV-Petrom and Exxon-Mobile for the exploitation of the Neptun Deep perimeter, that remains a matter of major interest, for the Romanian government as well as for investors. The Romanian president reiterated the importance of the energy infrastructure to increase the national and regional energy security. In that regard, the stage of the works n the transport infrastructure provides a good outlook for ensuring a functional transport capability upon beginning the exploitation of the resources in the Black Sea".

Our sources told us that two days ago, the reasons Rainer Seele was meeting with Iohannis were the Neptun project in the Black Sea and the much discussed Ordinance 64, the replacement of Mariana Gheorghe or the royalty issue.

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