Seadrill’s CEO Steps Down, Company Considers Leaving Norway

Alf C. Thorkildsen, former CEO of Seadrill Management

Since acquiring Smedvig ASA in 2006, Seadrill has operated its management service company, Seadrill Management AS out of Stavanger, Norway while establishing strong regional operational centers in the global oil and gas hubs of Houston, Rio, Singapore, and Dubai.

In June 2012, North Atlantic Drilling Limited was separated from Seadrill Management, to create an operational center for the North Atlantic, managed out of Stavanger.

Due to these changes, Seadrill’s board has decided to take steps to reduce their Norway-based management structure and assigning various company functions to Seadrill’s global operational hubs.  Additionally, Seadrill has begun exploring the option of completely relocating the company headquarters altogether from Stavanger.  The above mentioned hubs are in primary consideration and the final decision, Seadrill told reporters today, will be made by the end of 2012.

John Fredriksen, Chairman of the Board of Directors comments, “Our decision to consider moving Seadrill’s central management function should be seen as a dynamic decision to adapt to a changing market. In total four of our largest competitors have, in the last five years, taken similar decisions. The ultimate target is to secure access to the most skilled workforce, support our regional operations effectively, provide our customers with a first class service and ensure the company remains cost competitive.”

In addition, Mr. Alf C. Thorkildsen has stepped down as CEO of Seadrill Management effective today.  The decision, Seadrill notes, was a mutual agreement with Seadrill’s Board of Directors, and Mr. Thorkildsen will remain on the Board of North Atlantic Drilling Limited; a majority owned subsidiary of Seadrill.

Fredrik Halvorsen, currently the CEO of Archer Limited, has been appointed by the Board to succeed Mr. Thorkildsen.

John Fredriksen commented on the matter, “The Board would like to express their thanks to Alf for an excellent performance over the last six years and wish him all the best for the future.

Alf joined us as part of the Smedvig acquisition in 2006 and has been an integral part of the Seadrill growth story. Alf has worked very closely with the Board of Directors, has overseen significant expansion of the company and has established an experienced management team.

With North Atlantic Drilling now seeking a US listing, we are looking to further develop the organization in line with our strategy. North Atlantic Drilling will remain a core part of Seadrill and we will continue to focus on harsh environment operations from Stavanger. Seadrill will maintain its position as a top quality international driller with modern standardized assets that can be traded freely across the regions in which it operates.”

Incoming CEO, Fredrik Halvorsen, has worked closely with the Board and senior management of Seadrill in his current roles with Frontline Corporate Services and Archer.  He has been a Director of Archer since 2010, stepping in as interim CEO of Archer in January 2012.  He is also a Director of Deep Sea Supply and Aktiv Kapital.  Prior to this, Mr. Halvorsen held various roles including CEO of Tandberg ASA, and senior positions at Cisco Systems Inc as well as McKinsey & Company.

Commenting on his new appointment Mr Halvorsen said: “Seadrill has established a track record of delivering safe and efficient operations for its customers. With the industry’s most modern equipment and a highly skilled team, we intend to keep it this way.

I look forward to working with the Board and management team to ensure a smooth transition.

Alf leaves behind a very well run Company and I appreciate his decision to stay on as a board member of North Atlantic Drilling.”

Seadrill’s global offshore drilling fleet is composed of 67 units, including 19 rigs under construction. The fleet operates in over 15 different countries across five continents. Current operations are being performed and supported by over 7,900 employees worldwide.