Former BP boss Tony Hayward will leave Genel Energy, the Kurdistan-focused oil explorer he took over in 2011, in June following a troubled few years for the loss-making company.

He will be replaced as chairman by Stephen Whyte, an oil and gas industry veteran whose career has included a lengthy spell at Royal Dutch Shell.

The departure of Mr Hayward, who had previously been chief executive of Genel but stepped up to the chairman role in 2015, had long been expected.

Mr Hayward teamed up with financier Nat Rothschild to acquire Genel in 2011 but the company has had a troubled life on the London market.

Once valued at more than £3.1bn, the company is now worth £215m.

Oil explorers have faced a number of problems in the semi-autonomous region of Iraq, including securing regular payments for their crude exports from the local administration. But Genel’s key asset, Taq Taq, has also disappointed and the company has twice been forced to write down its estimate of how much oil is remaining in the field.

The group has also spent cash exploring for oil in other countries to no avail.

Mr Hayward will depart Genel on June 6, following the company’s annual meeting.

Murat Özgül, chief executive of Genel, said:

It has been a great pleasure to have worked with Tony during his time at Genel. When we first started working together, the oil industry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was still in its infancy, without an export pipeline and there was a high degree of uncertainty over export sales. Kurdistan now has a fully operational pipeline infrastructure exporting up to 600,000 bopd, and Taq Taq and Tawke have a proven track record of international sales and significant cash generation. Everyone at Genel wishes Tony all the best in his future activities.

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