Amec CEO Brikho Quits as Oil Slump Crushes Services Industry

  • CFO Ian McHoul has been appointed interim CEO, company says
  • Brikho oversaw merger between Amec and Foster Wheeler

Amec Foster Wheeler Plc said Samir Brikho, who oversaw the acquisition of Foster Wheeler AG before the crash in crude prices, has stepped down after nine years as chief executive officer of the oil-engineering company.

Chief Financial Officer Ian McHoul takes temporary charge as the company starts searching for a new CEO, Amec foster said in a statement on Monday. McHoul won’t be applying for the permanent position, it said.

Samir Brikho

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Since the $3.2 billion purchase of Foster Wheeler in 2014, the market value of the combined company has slumped to about $2.3 billion. Amec decided in November to cut its dividends by half as slumping oil prices eroded earnings. 

“Samir’s crowing achievement at Amec was to execute the Foster Wheeler deal, and that deal -- with the benefit of hindsight -- is looking quite stretched,” Alex Brooks, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Ltd., said by phone. The timing of the deal was “unfortunate,” he said.

Brent crude traded at $106.75 a barrel the day Amec announced it was in talks to buy Foster Wheeler. Prices have since collapsed by 73 percent to $28.51 a barrel.

Amec shares climbed as much as 6.8 percent and were 4.1 percent higher at 404.1 pence as of 9:29 a.m. in London trading. The 50 percent slump in the stock over the past year, put “pressure on the company and the board to be seen to do something,” said Brooks.

Brikho “made a significant contribution to our development over this period, including the re-shaping and re-focusing of the business,” Chairman John Connolly said in the statement. The company said on Monday that trading this year has started in line with expectations.

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