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FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff announced that Susan J. Court, director of the Office of Enforcement (OE), is retiring after 27 years of service in the federal government. Her successor will be Norman Bay, a former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico and current associate professor of law at the University of New Mexico. He is expected to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 6.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Thursday named Sylvia V. Baca, a senior public and private sector manager in energy and environmental policy and programs, as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Baca currently is employed by Houston-based BP America Inc., where she has held several positions with the company since 2001.

Hilary Tompkins was confirmed by the Senate as solicitor of the Department of Interior. She served as an adjunct professor at the University of Mexico School of Law prior to coming to Interior and was chief counsel to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson between 2003 and 2008.

The joint trading venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and San Diego-based Sempra Energy, RBS Sempra Commodities, announced two more top executive selections, which means the successful energy and metals trading operation is now under the control of three former top executives from bankrupt Lehman Brothers. The Stamford, CT-based joint venture announced the appointments of Satu Parikh as managing director and president of RBS Sempra, and Maximilian Coreth as managing director and head of North American power operations. Both report to another Lehman alum, Kaushik Amin, the CEO who joined the joint trading business in May. The joint venture has been fully operational for little more than a year. Parikh brings 12 years of experience from Lehman Brothers where most recently he was global head of commodities from 2006 to 2008. Coreth was most recently Lehman's head of North American gas and power trading.

Jerry Cash, the former CEO of Quest Resource Corp., and David Grose, Quest's former CFO, have been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly siphoning millions of dollars from the Oklahoma City-based producer. The SEC charged Cash with embezzling $10 million for a period of time until last year, when other Quest executives questioned some money transfers. The SEC said Grose helped to create a cover story for Cash's transactions while he misappropriated more than $1 million and collected a $850,000 kickback from a supplier. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (SEC v. Jerry D. Cash and David E. Gross, No. 09-CF-639). The SEC wants the men to forfeit "illicit profits" and pay unspecified fines. Separately a federal grand jury in Oklahoma City indicted Grose for defrauding Quest, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Oklahoma City. Grose pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. Quest's former purchasing director, Brent Mueller, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in March to failing to report Grose's actions and for trying to cover them up. Cash resigned in August (see NGI, Sept. 1, 2008) after serving as chairman of Quest beginning in November 2002; he was named CEO in September 2004. Grose was first put on a paid administrative leave last August, but he was later fired by the company. Quest entities said in May they had recovered $2.4 million in cash, some stock in a separate corporation and interest in two natural gas assets as settlement with Cash following an internal investigation (see NGI, June 1).

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