Timothy H. Ling, 46, the president and chief operating officer of Unocal Corp., died suddenly on Wednesday, the company said. He had been a member of Unocal’s board of directors since 2000 and also was a member of the company’s management committee.

“Tim Ling was a brilliant executive with boundless energy and enthusiasm,” said CEO Charles R. Williamson. “He lived every moment with gusto. Although his life was tragically short, it was remarkably full. The entire Unocal family is shocked and saddened by Tim’s sudden passing. We will miss him terribly.” Williamson indicated that he would assume Ling’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Ling joined Unocal in 1997 as CFO and had previously been executive vice president of Unocal’s North American operations. Before joining the El Segundo, CA-based company, Ling had been a partner at McKinsey and Co. in Los Angeles. He also worked as a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey at Woods Hole, MA, where his focus was on the assessment of deepwater energy and mineral resources.

He is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and three children.

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