CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Canada’s largest gas producer, said on Tuesday it is restructuring its senior management team, the latest step in the revamp promised by new Chief Executive Doug Suttles.
Among five senior managers leaving the company is Encana USA President Jeff Wojahn, who headed the unit when it was accused of colluding with Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) to suppress land prices in Michigan when the two companies were bidding for oil and gas rights in 2010.
A major Michigan landowner is currently suing the two energy giants in a civil antitrust action.
The new structure amalgamates Encana’s Canadian and U.S. senior management into one team reporting directly to Suttles, who was named Encana CEO in June after leading BP Plc’s (BP.L) response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is a simpler organizational structure with clear accountabilities across the company that are directly tied to the areas we need to focus on to be successful,” Suttles said in a statement.
Mike Dunn, analyst at FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary, said the appointment of a new chief operating officer overseeing both Canada and the United States would help unify the company. Encana has not had a COO since 2006, when former chief executive Randy Eresman was promoted from that role.
“What they have had since is the Canadian division and the U.S. division, and the head of those two divisions were perhaps duelling each other for capital,” Dunn said.
“In terms of departures, it’s not really surprising in a company that has struggled over the last few years, has brought in an outsider as CEO and is going through a strategic review, that some of the old guard is choosing to retire,” he added.
Encana has been hurt in recent years by a collapse in natural gas prices and a series of strategic missteps. Suttles was charged with righting the company when he took the helm in June.
Last month he hinted at a potential sale of dry natural gas assets and said the company would narrow its focus from its current portfolio of 28 properties.
Encana shares were last up 1.5 percent at C$18.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Nia Williams and Scott Haggett; Editing by David Gregorio