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BG’s LNG Leader Houston to Retire After Failing to Get Top Job

BG Group Plc Chief Operating Officer Martin Houston, who led the company’s liquefied natural gas business, will retire after failing to get the top job.

Houston, 55, who lost out to Chris Finlayson in the race to become chief executive officer last year, has stepped down from the board of directors and executive committee, BG said today in a statement. He will be replaced by Sami Iskander as COO, who joined the company in 2008.

Houston “was one of the principal architects of the group’s LNG and shipping business during the formative years,” BG Chairman Andrew Gould said in the statement.

Houston spent more than 30 years with the company, which became BG when the exploration and production arm of the U.K.’s former state gas monopoly was split from British Gas Plc in 1997. He will continue to advise on the start of LNG production at Australia’s Queensland Curtis Island plant until the end of next year, the Reading, England-based company said.

BG shares fell as much as 4.1 percent to 1,217 pence in London and were down 1.4 percent at 11:40 a.m. local time.

BG is set to become the world’s largest seller of LNG in 2017, almost doubling the amount of fuel it sells to about 20 million tons a year. The business is expected to generate as much as $2.7 billion in operating profit this year.

Finlayson succeeded Frank Chapman, the former CEO who transformed the company into a global producer, at the start of this year.

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