Oil Refineries Drops as CEO Asks to Be Replaced: Tel Aviv Mover

Oil Refineries Ltd. declined the most in almost a month after Pinhas Buchris, the chief executive officer of the country’s largest refiner, said he will resign.

The shares retreated 2.8 percent, the biggest drop since Oct. 28, to 1.929 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv, bringing the decline this year to 3.7 percent. The stock led declines on the benchmark TA-25 index which slid 0.2 percent today.

The company said in an e-mailed statement today that Buchris, who “initiated deep organizational changes and efficiency measures” to adapt the the refiner to the global energy market, requested to be replaced but will remain in office until a new chief executive is found. No reason was given for his departure. A company spokesman, who asked not to be identified because of policy, said he could not provide any additional information on the resignation.

“The shares are down because of the surprise resignation of the chief executive officer,” Sharon Naveh, head of institutional and international sales at Migdal Capital Markets Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by phone today. “He started a reorganization process at the company and now he is leaving in the middle. This leaves the company exposed without a management backbone.”

The company’s chairman Akiva Mozes said a committee will be organized to select a new chief executive, according to the statement.

Oil Refineries shares advanced 4.3 percent last year compared with a 9.2 percent rise in the TA-25 index, as the company posted five consecutive quarters of losses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In January the company said management and directors had agreed to take a pay cut in 2013 and said it approved the early retirement of “tens” of workers. In September the company started a debenture repurchase program for the coming 12 months. Buchris has been chief executive at the company since May 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Israel Corp., which holds 37 percent of the petroleum processor, declined 1.9 percent and was the second-worst performer on the benchmark index.

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