October 2, 2012 / 11:59 PM / 6 years ago

Seadrill CEO Thorkildsen to resign

(Reuters) - Seadrill Ltd (SDRL.OL), the world’s biggest driller by market capitalization, said CEO Alf Thorkildsen will resign and Fredrik Halvorsen will replace him as the company looks to re-locate its management service function.

The decision comes as the company’s board has decided to explore establishing a new management service function in an alternative location.

Several locations including London, Dubai, Singapore and Houston are under consideration, the Norwegian drilling major said.

“Our decision to consider moving Seadrill’s central management function should be seen as a dynamic decision to adapt to a changing market,” Norwegian-born shipping magnate and Seadrill’s Chairman John “Big Wolf” Fredriksen said.

After having discussions, the board and Thorkildsen mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

The company believes that Seadrill Management’s location in Stavanger may constrain Seadrill’s aggressive growth plans, and said that Norwegian costs and distance from Seadrill’s core markets makes travel and logistics cumbersome.

With a modern rig fleet and the current boom in offshore drilling, Seadrill has an advantage to scoop big projects amid stringent regulations in the market for drilling.

Under Thorkildsen’s leadership Seadrill overtook Transocean RIGN.VX as the world’s top rig company by market value.

Thorkildsen has been the CEO of Seadrill for the past four years. Fredrik Halvorsen is currently the CEO of Archer Limited, the offshore driller said.

Shares of the Oslo-listed company have risen close to 40 percent in the past 52 weeks, comfortably outperforming its peers.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in Bangalore. Editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr

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