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WPX Energy to add board member for activist shareholder

WPX Energy will add a representative of activist shareholder Taconic Capital Advisors LP as a new member of its board of directors.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: December 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm •  Published: December 20, 2013

WPX Energy is adding a board member on behalf of one of its largest shareholders.

The move announced Wednesday is part of an agreement with activist investor Taconic Capital Advisors LP, which has been pushing WPX to focus on developing its assets in a disciplined manner.

“This is the best outcome for all shareholders and a constructive agreement by the board to improve WPX's strategic direction,” said Michael I. Schwartz, Taconic's portfolio manager.

Taconic, which owns 6.9 percent of WPX's outstanding stock, has proposed two candidates for the new board post. Both have significant experience in oil and natural gas exploration and production.

The Taconic representative, who will be added to the WPX board by Jan. 10, will be part of the committee searching for the company's next chief executive.

Company seeks CEO

WPX announced Tuesday that CEO Ralph A. Hill will step down at the end of the year, so the committee is looking for his replacement.

“This agreement is an important step as we continue to grow WPX and deliver returns for our shareholders,” WPX Chairman William G. Lowrie said.

“Taconic recognizes the value of WPX, and we look forward to working with them in the future,” Lowrie said.

WPX's stock dipped 71 cents Wednesday to $19.15 a share.

It had gained 85 cents on Tuesday after Hill's pending departure was announced.