Sept 27 (Reuters) - North Sea oil and gas operator Ithaca Energy Inc said Chief Executive Iain McKendrick was stepping down due to personal reasons, sending its shares down as much as nine percent.
Ithaca said McKendrick will be replaced by Les Thomas, a former executive at energy services company John Wood Group .
Thomas, who also headed Marathon Oil Corp’s European upstream business, will take charge on Oct. 1.
McKendrick, who oversaw Ithaca’s acquisition of Valiant Petroleum for 203 million pounds ($324.87 million) earlier this year, has been at the helm since December 2008.
“He’s been a particularly good dealmaker, there have been a number of deals that he has carried out to rationalise the portfolio... and of course most recently the Valiant acquisition,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Charlie Sharp said.
Ithaca shares were down about 2 percent at 149 pence at 0742 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. They have risen about 18 percent in the past year.