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Encana's U.S. E&P Chief Out

Encana Corp., in the midst of a strategic review of its North American onshore business, last week shook up its U.S. operations with the top two executives gone.

USA Division President Jeff Wojahn, a 23-year Encana veteran, is retiring. USA Division Senior Vice President Eric Marsh, who was vice president of the company's Natural Gas Economy business, also is leaving after 13 years.

"The new organizational structure aligns with the core competencies needed to get Encana back to winning," said CEO Doug Suttles. "These include resource identification, operational excellence, market fundamentals, and capital allocation combined with balance sheet strength.

"We are at a point where we need to involve a much wider group of people to determine the next steps in our strategy development process, which is why I've named my senior management team and the high level structure of the organization."

Suttles had said last month that status quo was "not an option" (see NGISept. 16). A broad review of the pure-play gas producer is ongoing and some dry gas assets are targeted for sale.

Suttles, the former operating chief for BP plc's global exploration and production arm, took the helm of Canada's largest natural gas producer as CEO and president in June (see NGIJune 17). Randy Eresman, who was CEO for seven years, resigned in January (see NGIJan. 21).

"This is a simpler organizational structure with clear accountabilities across the company that are directly tied to the areas we need to focus on to be successful," said Suttles. "I'm looking forward to working with such a talented group of people that share a passion for the industry and excitement for Encana's future."

Mike McAllister, who had been in charge of Encana's Canadian exploration and production business, is taking over as COO and was named executive vice president (EVP); he is to focus on operational performance. David Hill was appointed EVP of Exploration & Business Development to identify "top tier resources" for the company.

In addition to the departure of Wojahn and Marsh, EVP and Chief Accounting Officer Bill Stevenson is out after 21 years with Encana. EVP Bob Grant, who was in charge of Corporate Development, Environmental Health & Safety & Reserves, is leaving after 28 years. EVP and Chief Corporate Officer Bill Oliver is retiring after 31 years.

"Each and every one of the senior leaders that are leaving has played a large role in the history of the company," said Suttles. "On behalf of the senior management team and Encana's board of directors I thank them all for their contributions to Encana."

Those still in place on the management team include CFO Sherri Brillon, EVP Renee Zemljak, who is in charge of Midstream, Marketing & Fundamentals, and EVP and general counsel Terry Hopwood. Investor Relations chief Ryder McRitchie also remains in his post. 

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