Gulf Keystone Appoints Simon Murray to its Chair

Source: 7/4/2013, Location: Middle East

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd is delighted to announce the appointment of Simon Murray C.B.E., aged 73, to the Board of Gulf Keystone as Independent Non-Executive Chairman and Senior Independent Director of the Company. Mr Murray will also be appointed Chairman of the Company's Remuneration Committee at its next meeting.

This appointment represents a significant step forward for the Company as it expands and strengthens its Board in advance of seeking admission to the Official List of the London Stock Exchange later this year. Mr Murray will be taking up his appointment with immediate effect and will be attending the Company's Annual General Meeting on 25 July 2013 in order to introduce himself to shareholders.

Simon Murray has a wealth of international business experience and a strong network of contacts, both globally and across the Far East, built up over the past four decades. His specific oil and gas experience includes his role as Vice Chairman and Non-Executive Director of FTSE 250 Essar Energy plc, an integrated energy company, where he is also Chairman of the Nomination and Governance Committee and his former roles as Chairman of FTSE 100 Glencore International Plc, where he oversaw the IPO of the company on the Main Market, and as an Advisory Board Member of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Simon was the long term Managing Director of Hutchinson Whampoa, a Fortune Global 500 Company, where he expanded Hutchinson Whampoa's energy interests with the acquisition of one of Canada's largest integrated energy companies, Husky Oil.

Mr Murray's current roles include positions as Non-Executive Director of Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd, one of the largest listed companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Chairman of GEMS Limited. He is a former Non-Executive Director of Vodafone, another FTSE 100 company and previous Executive Chairman of Deutsche Bank Group for Asia Pacific. He is a Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur.

The Company is continuing the search process for at least one other Independent Non-Executive Director with the assistance of Odgers Berndtson, one of the UK's pre-eminent executive search firms, and a further announcement on that process will be made in due course.

Commenting on the appointment Todd Kozel, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Keystone, said:
"I am delighted to welcome Simon to the Board. Simon's wealth of international business experience, particularly his experience in listing and chairing a FTSE 100 company, will be invaluable in leading our migration from AIM to the Main Market as we transition into the next phase of the Company's development and become a significant oil producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq."

Simon's appointment has been positively endorsed in discussions with the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the entire team are looking forward to working with Simon, as Gulf Keystone continues to build on its track record of success."

Simon Murray, Non-Executive Chairman of Gulf Keystone, commented:
"Todd and his team have done a great job building Gulf Keystone from a small exploration company into a multi-billion dollar company. The recent approval of the Shaikan Field Development Plan, one of currently only three in the region, is a testament to his strong relationships with key stakeholders in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq."

As Gulf Keystone continues to expand and moves into the production phase at its world class Shaikan field, I look forward to being able to utilise my experience and expertise in assisting the Board with its strategic direction, especially in connection with the Company's planned move onto the Main Market later this year."

Mr Murray was prosecuted by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong, in January 2002, for admitting to two breaches of the Securities (Disclosure of Interests) Ordinance for failing to report in a timely manner the purchase of 16,000 shares in Hutchison Whampoa Limited in June 2000, a company Mr Murray was a Non-Executive Director of at the time, and was fined a total of HK$8,000. However, the SFC did recognise that he had no intention to conceal the purchase and that the failure to report in a timely manner was the result of a breakdown in the personal arrangement which Mr Murray had specifically made for reporting share purchases.

Mr. Murray was a Non-Executive Director of Sino-Forest Corporation (Sino-Forest), a forest plantation operator with its headquarters in Hong Kong and its principal operations in the People's Republic of China. Sino-Forest was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Following accusations of misconduct made against certain former members of management of Sino-Forest (not including Mr Murray), the company was unable to issue current financial reports, which were necessary to avoid defaults under the company's senior and convertible notes. As a result, on 30 March 2012 Sino-Forest filed for creditor protection and to reorganize in Ontario, Canada, under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) (CCAA).

On 10 December 2012, and with the overwhelming support of its creditors, the Ontario court approved a plan of compromise and reorganisation (the Plan) under the CCAA, which took effect from 30 January 2013. The Plan involved the transfer of substantially all of Sino-Forest's assets, other than certain excluded assets, to a newly formed entity (Emerald Plantation Holdings Limited) owned by the affected creditors of Sino-Forest (the SF Creditors), in proportion to the amounts outstanding to each of the SF Creditors, in exchange for a release of the claims of the SF creditors against Sino-Forest and its subsidiaries. The SF Creditors were comprised primarily of holders of approximately US$1.8 billion of outstanding.

For more information about related Opportunities and Key Players visit Iraq Oil and Gas Projects

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