The controversial chief executive of oil company Gulf Keystone (LSE: GKP) (NASDAQOTH: GUKYF.US) will retire next month, having attracted increasing amounts of anger from shareholders over excessive pay amid poor share performance. Mr Kozel, whose pay has fallen from $21m to $3m, will take a position as an executive director subject to re-election to the board.
Kozel, 47, has led the company he founded since 2001, and a search for his replacement is underway. Simon Murray, the former French Legionnaire and Gulf Keystone chairman, was facing increasing pressure from investors to replace Kozel.
Two non-executive directors, Jeremy Asher and John Bell, have also stepped down.
Shares in Gulf Keystone have been hit by unrest in Iraq and a $250m debt financing, with a fall since January this year of 50%. The shares have fallen from a high of 465p in 2012 to 81p.
Gulf Keystone operates the Shaikan oil field in northern Iraq, and despite the security situation the firm remains on track to increase production to 40,000 gross barrels per day by the end of 2014.
Gulf Keystone’s AGM is on 17 July.
Mark does not own shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum.