Marathon Oil shares slide 7% after two executives leave

Marathon Oil Corporation pumpjack during sunset in Oklahoma
Source: Marathon Oil Corporation
Marathon Oil Corporation pumpjack during sunset in Oklahoma

Shares of Marathon Oil fell more than 7.5 percent in midday Monday trade after the energy exploration and production firm said two executives, including the CFO, will leave.

"This announcement introduces unfortunate uncertainty into an equity story that has been playing out nicely," Guy Baber, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said in a Monday note titled "Unexpected Leadership Changes." The firm has an "overweight" rating on Marathon Oil and a price target of $18 a share.

The stock recovered some of its losses and ended the day down 6.9 percent.

Marathon Oil did not immediately respond to requests for comment over the phone and by email.

The stock closed 0.72 percent higher at $16.80 Friday, up more than 33 percent for the year so far.

Marathon Oil 5-year performance

Chief Financial Officer J.R. Sult is leaving the company for personal reasons, while Lance Robertson, vice president, Resource Plays, has decided to leave the firm "to pursue other opportunities," a company press release said. All leadership changes are effective immediately.

Sult had joined Marathon in September 2013 and his departure "is not related to any disagreement with the Company regarding financial disclosures, accounting or business matters," the release said.

Pat Wagner, vice president of corporate development and strategy, has been appointed interim CFO while the firm searches for a new candidate to fill the position.

"Pat brings a solid balance of financial and operating skills to his role as interim CFO and will continue to support our ongoing focus on financial discipline during this transition," Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil president and CEO, said in the release.

Marathon also announced Monday the promotion of T. Mitch Little to executive vice president, Operations, with oversight of the Resource Play and Conventional businesses.

Cathy Krajicek, vice president of Technology and Innovation, will become vice president, Conventional. Vice president and Chief Information Officer Bruce McCullough will assume Krajicek's role and retain his position as CIO.