– USA, OK – The Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE: WMB) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed three new independent directors to the Board, effectively immediately: Stephen W. Bergstrom, Scott D. Sheffield and William H. Spence. The three new directors will stand for election at the Company’s 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be held on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.
Mr. Bergstrom, Mr. Sheffield and Mr. Spence were identified through the Board’s previously announced search process, which it conducted with the assistance of nationally recognized search firm Spencer Stuart. With these appointments, the Williams Board comprises ten directors, nine of whom are independent.
Mr. Bergstrom is a skilled and extremely knowledgeable industry leader, having led growth initiatives and successfully managed through industry downturns over his long and distinguished career. He has strong operational skills and a keen strategic understanding of the energy industry. During his tenure as president and chief executive officer of American Midstream Partners, Mr. Bergstrom established a strong platform and led the company through a period of substantial growth while increasing geographic and operational diversity and enhancing fee-based cash flow.
Mr. Sheffield is chairman and chief executive officer of Pioneer Natural Resources, a premier independent oil shale resource company in the United States. He is recognized for making well-timed strategic decisions, his focus on financial discipline and building Pioneer’s strong corporate culture. Under his leadership, Pioneer has grown from a $32 million company in 1985 to a more than $30 billion company today. Notably, Pioneer has been the top performing E&P stock in the S&P 500 since 2009. Additionally, Mr. Sheffield led an industry-wide effort to bring an end last year to the four-decade domestic oil export ban. Mr. Sheffield will retire as chairman and chief executive officer on December 31, 2016, and become executive chairman of Pioneer’s board.
Mr. Spence has led PPL Corporation through a period of significant growth and capital expansion. PPL Corporation is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector; the PPL family of companies delivers electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. PPL’s U.S. utilities ranked No. 1 in residential customer satisfaction in their regional markets in 2016. Meanwhile, PPL’s U.K. utilities have consistently ranked as the number one performers for customer service among their peers. As chief executive officer, Mr. Spence has developed expertise in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, stockholder relations, industry and regulatory matters and corporate strategy. He is especially well respected for his ability to develop comprehensive strategies and lead the successful implementation of those strategies.
“We are pleased to welcome three new, independent directors to the Williams Board,” said Dr. Kathleen Cooper, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Williams. “Steve, Scott and Bill bring deep expertise, business acumen and longstanding energy industry experience. All three of our new directors are well-known for their outstanding records of performance serving as board members and chief executive officers of publicly traded energy companies, and we are looking forward to benefiting from their fresh perspectives and deep industry insights.”
Ms. Cooper concluded, “Everyone across the Williams organization is energized and focused on maintaining superior customer service and ensuring a safe working environment. The Williams Board of Directors is strong, diverse and independent, and we are committed to taking decisive action to enhance stockholder value and position Williams for the future.”
In a joint statement, Mr. Bergstrom, Mr. Sheffield and Mr. Spence stated, “The Williams Board is committed to strong corporate governance and acting in the best interests of stockholders. As new, independent Board members, we are excited about joining the Williams Board at such an important time for the Company and the industry. We look forward to bringing our diversity of perspectives and experiences, as well as additional strong independent voices, to help set the Company’s strategy, oversee management, and advance the Company’s efforts to enhance value for Williams’ stockholders. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Williams Board to continue strengthening its corporate governance and taking actions that will position the Company for further success.”
Mr. Bergstrom is a director on the board of American Midstream Partners. He served as president and chief executive officer of the general partner of American Midstream and as executive chairman of the board of directors of the general partner from May 2013 to December 2015. Mr. Bergstrom acted as an exclusive consultant to ArcLight from October 2003 to December 2015, assisting ArcLight in connection with its energy investments. Prior to his consultancy with ArcLight, Mr. Bergstrom worked from 1986 to 2002 for Natural Gas Clearinghouse, which became Dynegy Inc. Mr. Bergstrom acted in various capacities at Dynegy, ultimately serving as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Bergstrom earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Administration from Iowa State University.
Mr. Sheffield is chairman and chief executive officer of Pioneer Natural Resources Company. Mr. Sheffield has served as chief executive officer since August 1997 and assumed the position of chairman of the board of directors in August 1999. He was president of the company from August 1997 to November 2004. Sheffield was the chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Parker & Parsley, a predecessor company of Pioneer Natural Resources Company, from January 1989 until August 1997. Sheffield joined Parker & Parsley as a petroleum engineer in 1979, was promoted to vice president – engineering in September 1981, was elected president and a director in April 1985, and became Parker & Parsley’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer in January 1989. Sheffield also serves as a director of Santos Limited, an Australian exploration and production company. Sheffield is a distinguished graduate of The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering.
Mr. Spence is chairman, president and chief executive officer of PPL Corporation, one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. The PPL family of companies delivers electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Prior to his appointment as chairman in April 2012, Mr. Spence was named chief executive officer and appointed to the board of directors of PPL Corporation in November 2011. Previously, he was named president and chief operating officer of PPL Corporation in July 2011, and served as executive vice president and chief operating officer since June of 2006. Prior to joining PPL, Mr. Spence had 19 years of service with Pepco Holdings, Inc. and its heritage companies, Delmarva Power and Conectiv, where he held a number of senior management positions. Mr. Spence currently serves on the board of the Electric Power Research Institute. He also serves as a member of the executive committee of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and as co-chairman of EEI’s CEO Policy Committee on Reliability and Business Continuity. Mr. Spence earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Bentley College. He is also a graduate of the Executive Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Nuclear Technology Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Williams Recent Business Highlights
The Company notes that, since early July, the Williams management team has announced a series of actions, including its strategic plan, and the Company’s stock has increased in value by approximately 35%.
- Williams and Williams Partners announced immediate measures designed to enhance their values, strengthen their credit profile and fund the development of a significant portfolio of fee-based growth projects at Williams Partners, while maintaining flexibility as financial and operational plans are being reviewed.
- Williams Partners expects to implement a Distribution Reinvestment Program (DRIP); Williams intends to reinvest approximately $1.7 billion into Williams Partners through 2017, funded by reduced quarterly cash dividends.
- Williams Partners announced that it has conditionally committed to execute a new gas gathering agreement with a new producer customer, a private company successor to Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), in the Barnett Shale. Additionally, Williams Partners and Chesapeake agreed to a revised contract in the Mid-Continent region. Among other benefits, this is expected to reduce customer concentration risk and result in additional drilling and volumes in the basins.
- Williams and Williams Partners announced that they have agreed to sell the companies’ Canadian businesses to Inter Pipeline Ltd. for combined cash proceeds of $1.35 billion CAD.
- Williams’ cost reduction initiatives to address the realities of slower growth in key supply areas are on-track, with $55 million in lower adjusted costs for the second quarter of 2016 versus the prior year period despite additional assets being in service.
- Williams and Williams Partners disclosed a 2017 $3.1 billion growth capital program, approximately three-quarters of which relates to Transco expansions in high growth demand markets under long-term contracts.
Williams (WMB) is a premier provider of large-scale infrastructure connecting North American natural gas and natural gas products to growing demand for cleaner fuel and feedstocks. Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., Williams owns approximately 60 percent of Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ) (“WPZ”), including all of the 2 percent general-partner interest. WPZ is an industry-leading, large-cap master limited partnership with operations across the natural gas value chain from gathering, processing and interstate transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids to petchem production of ethylene, propylene and other olefins. With major positions in top U.S. supply basins and also in Canada, WPZ owns and operates more than 33,000 miles of pipelines system wide – including the nation’s largest volume and fastest growing pipeline – providing natural gas for clean-power generation, heating and industrial use. WPZ’s operations touch approximately 30 percent of U.S. natural gas.
- Disclaimer - News, data, and statements included in this release are intended exclusively for general information purposes. Talent4Boards does not guarantee that news is accurate or about the correct person and accepts neither liability for the consequences of the reader’s reliance, nor responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Nothing in this release should be considered for decisions about referred securities. Products and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.