SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD ) has new men leading the company. The company announced that its founder and, until now, only Chairman and CEO, Tom Ward has been relieved of both positions by the board of directors. He has been replaced on an interim basis by Jeffrey Serota in the first job, and on a permanent basis by James Bennett in the second. Both appointments are effective immediately.
In the press release announcing the news, SandRidge said only that "despite Ward's many contributions to SandRidge, new leadership is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders at this time."
Ward founded the company in 2006 and had been its chairman and CEO until today. Bennett had been its CFO since 2011 and was named president this past March. Serota, at the time of his promotion, was the board's lead independent director.
According to an SEC filing, the termination of Ward's employment is " 'without cause' under the terms of his employment agreement with the Company. In accordance with the terms of his employment agreement, he is entitled to the vesting of 6,331,475 shares of previously granted restricted stock, a lump sum cash payment of $53.5 million, comprised of three times the average of his last three annual bonuses, his accrued vacation, and the value of the restricted stock that Ward would have received over the next three years if his employment with the Company had continued; and his current base salary to be paid for a period of 36 months."
Bennett will receive an annual base salary of $800,000 and a target annual incentive award of $880,000.