​Obsidian Energy announces interim CEO as David French to step down

Screenshot of an investor video by Obsidian Energy featuring CEO David French.

A former executive with ConocoPhillips has been named interim CEO of Obsidian Energy.

Michael Faust will take over from current CEO David French effective Mar. 29 for a period of 12 months, with an opitional 6-month extension, the company said on Thursday.

Faust previously served as vice-president, exploration and land at ConocoPhillips Canada [and ConocoPhillips Alaska. He has been on the Obsidian board since April 2018.

Chairman Gord Ritchie said in a statement that Faust’s technical skills will be a great asset as Obsidian sharpens its focus on its Cardium assets.

French was appointed CEO in October 2016 and oversaw the company’s 2017 rebranding from Penn West Petroleum to Obsidian in an effort to ‘start a new conversation’ about its strategy.

In addition to the price collapse, Penn West faced challenges including having to restate financial reports for 2012, 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 after improper expense classifications.

Obsidian reported a net loss of $305 million for 2018, an increase from its $84 million net loss the previous year.

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