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Continental exec to be new WPX Energy CEO

by Jay F. Marks Published: May 1, 2014
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A top executive at Continental Resources Inc. has resigned to take over the top post at Tulsa-based WPX Energy, the Oklahoma City-based company announced Thursday.

Rick Muncrief had been Continental’s senior vice president of operations and resource development. He will take over May 15 as WPX Energy’s chief executive.

“We wish Rick the absolute best and are confident he will be as successful in his new role as he has been at Continental,” Continental CEO Harold Hamm said.  ”Rick is an outstanding individual who has contributed significantly to Continental’s achievements the past five years.”

Muncrief will replace Ralph A. Hill, who stepped down from the post in December after spending 32 years at WPX and parent Williams Cos. Inc.

“Rick has an accomplished record of sizing things up and driving plans that produce exceptional results, profitable growth and lower costs,” WPX Chairman William G. Lowrie said in a news release. “He has prior experience in our growth areas, particularly the Williston and San Juan basins, and is ready to hit the ground running.

“His technical acumen, driven nature, operations experience and character are a great fit for shaping the future of the company.”

Muncrief, 55, is a petroleum engineer who has more than 30 years of upstream and midstream energy experience.

During his tenure with Continental – where he worked since June 2009 – Muncrief helped the company increase reserves, production and share price by more than four-fold while lowering production expense by more than 15 percent.

Muncrief said he is eager to start his new job.

“There’s an innovative spirit at WPX,” Muncrief said. “I expect WPX to succeed, and I’m eager to become part of the company. We have much to leverage from WPX’s assets and the contributions of those who helped forge the company into a leading independent producer.”

Interim WPX CEO James J. Bender plans to retire after completing the transition of his duties to Muncrief.

Continental has promoted Gary E. Gould to replace Muncrief, the company announced.

Gould, 49, joined Continental last year from Chesapeake Energy Corp. as vice president of resource development.

“Gary has established himself as an impactful leader here at Continental, and his broad energy experience makes him exceptionally well suited for this expanded role,” Hamm said. ” Under Gary’s leadership, we expect ongoing operational excellence as we implement our 5-year plan to triple the size of the company.  We have exceptional depth in our management team.”

Continental also announced Eric S. Eissenstadt, the company’s senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, has taken on the role of chief risk officer.


by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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