UPDATE 3-Encana names BP Gulf spill veteran as its new CEO

Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:48pm EDT
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* New CEO Suttles a three-decade oil-and-gas veteran

* Suttles says will study company before making changes

* Suttles had prominent role during BP's Gulf spill

* Encana shares fall 0.9 pct in down market

By Scott Haggett and Kristen Hays

CALGARY/HOUSTON, June 11 (Reuters) - Encana Corp named former BP Plc executive Doug Suttles, who played a major role in responding to BP's disastrous 2010 Gulf oil spill, as its new chief executive on Tuesday as Canada's largest natural-gas producer searches for a new course following years of strategic missteps.

Suttles, a nearly three-decade veteran of the oil and gas industry, is taking the reins from interim CEO Clayton Woitas, a board member who replaced former CEO Randy Eresman temporarily when Eresman left the company unexpectedly in early January. Suttles was also named an Encana director.

Encana shares have dropped 41 percent over the past two years as the company weathered low gas prices and a balance sheet weakened by a focus on growth despite falling revenue. Investors will look to Suttles to reverse the company's course, but no one expects quick moves.

"It will take time to turn the ship around so I don't expect miracles," said John Stephenson, a portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management, which owns Encana shares. "But I think it's really positive. I think it good that he's an outsider. Taking someone off the bench (internally) would have viewed much more negatively."   Continued...