Bowleven chairman Billy Allan quits oil and gas firm

Embattled oil and gas explorer Bowleven today said that chairman Billy Allan has resigned from the Edinburgh-based company with immediate effect.

Billy Allan has resigned as Bowleven chairman amid pressure from an activist shareholder. Picture: Contributed

The Aim-quoted firm said that Allan, the former boss of oil services group Asco who had been on the board for 18 months, will be replaced as chairman by corporate lawyer and non-executive director Christopher Ashworth.

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Ashworth secured his place in the boardroom earlier this month after being nominated by rebel investor Crown Ocean Capital, which also succeeded in ousting Bowleven chief executive Kevin Hart, finance director Kerry Crawford and non-executives John Martin, Tim Sullivan and Philip Tracy.

“The board would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Allan for his service to the company,” Bowleven said as it also confirmed that Hart and Crawford have had their contracts terminated and are “no longer involved in the running of the company”.

Allan had narrowly escaped the boardroom purge but Crown Ocean, headed by Christian Petersmann and Konstantin Stoyanov, had sought a fresh attempt to remove him arguing the entrepreneur was “reluctant to accept the verdict of shareholders over the future strategy of Bowleven”.

The firm, which focuses its efforts on Africa, has launched a strategic review in the wake of its bitter battle with Crown Ocean, which has a stake of more than 23 per cent in the business.

Options being looked at include a possible farm-out or sale of one or more of its existing assets or a corporate deal such as a merger or sale.

Today Bowleven said: “The board continues to focus on carrying out its previously announced strategic review and a further announcement will be made regarding this in due course.”