Murphy Oil CEO David Wood Retires, Resigns from Board

Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado said Wednesday that David Wood, president and CEO, is retiring and resigning from the board of directors.

"David Wood ... will retire after a 17-year career at the company and resign from his director position," the company said in a news release. It said the board of directors had appointed Steve Cossé, a board member who previously was executive vice president and general counsel, as president and CEO "effectively immediately."

Barry Jeffery, head of investor relations for Murphy Oil, told Arkansas Business that Wood's retirement didn't represent a change in direction for the company.

"David retired after 17 years at the company," Jeffery said. "We've got a personnel change here — the business moves forward, and who better than Steve, who knows it well and comes in with strong leadership to move it forward."

The board also named Roger Jenkins, the company's executive vice president of exploration and production, to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

"David has accomplished a great deal during his tenure with the company," the board of directors said in a news release. "We are grateful for his contribution and thank him for his dedication to Murphy."

The board said Wood will remain "a consultant" to the company for one year.

Murphy Oil is a publicly traded oil company (NYSE: MUR) that ranked No. 98 on the most recent Fortune 500 list. It reported $31.45 billion in revenue in 2011.


Wood's retirement and resignation comes about four months after Murphy Oil's board chairman, William C. Nolan Jr., died following a brief illness. Nolan was the nephew of Charles Murphy Jr., who founded the company as it is known today.

Former CEO Claiborne Deming quickly became the new board chairman. He had been elected to the post in December but wasn't due to begin serving until May.

Cossé, who has been a director on the board of Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff since 2004, retired from Murphy Oil in March 2011 but remains on its board. He previously served as senior vice president and principal financial officer while maintaining his role as general counsel.

Before that, Cossé was general counsel for Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co. of New Orleans, a majority owned subsidiary of Murphy Oil.

According to Simmons First's most recent proxy, Cossé also serves on the Arkansas Research Alliance of Conway and is chairman of the Share Foundation of El Dorado. He is past chairman of the South Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross and is on the advisory board of Turning Point of El Dorado. He is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association and Union County Bar Association.

Jenkins joined Murphy in 2001 and was named executive vice president of exploration and production in 2009.

In recent months, Murphy Oil has been working on a plan to sell its refineries. In a May 9 presentation to stockholders, Wood cited increased demand for energy and a burgeoning retail sector as growth areas for the company.

The company's last refinery, in Milford Haven, Wales, remains for sale. Wood said recently that Murphy was considering turning the refinery into a storage facility.