In March 2010, long-time Transocean CEO Robert Long turned over the reins to then COO Steven Newman. For Newman, this was an exciting opportunity to lead his company forward as the top dog in the offshore drilling business, while at the same time work out any kinks left over from the merger of Transocean with GlobalSantaFe.
There’s no way he could have predicted that in three months time, he would be sitting in front of Congressional inquiries answering questions about why his company’s drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, had caught fire, sank and continued to spill millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Not only that, but he had to lead his company, and to a certain degree, his entire industry through these dark times.
In September 2014, over four years after Macondo, Transocean was finally cleared from the liability associated with the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
The damage had certainly been done however. The environmental consequences as a result of the oil spill was sickening and his company’s share price was a third of what it was pre-Macondo.
For Newman however, it was his “Mission Accomplished” moment where he could say that he had done everything possible to see the Deepwater Horizon tragedy through to the end. At or around that same time period, it seems Mr. Newman created a profile on LinkedIn for the first time – which appears to have since been deleted.
For an executive who had closed such a huge chapter in his company’s history, this was probably not a coincidence.
Today, Transocean’s Board of Directors reports Mr. Newman will officially step down as President and CEO effective on Monday 16 February.
“As Chief Executive, Steven has capably guided Transocean over the last five years, demonstrating outstanding leadership through what was unquestionably the most challenging period in its history,” remarked Mr. Ian Strachan, Chairman of the Board.
“In addition to leading Transocean through company- and industry- changing events following the Macondo well incident, Steven initiated essential changes that have and will continue to improve the company’s fleet, operations, cost structure and long-term competitiveness,” said Strachan. “As a result, Transocean is well positioned to weather the current industry downturn and emerge even stronger. On behalf of the Board of Directors, and all Transocean employees, I would like to thank Steven for his dedicated service to the company and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”