A Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) director has been seconded as the new acting chief executive of Dana Petroleum, increasing speculation the company is seeking greater central control of its Aberdeen-based subsidiary.
A Dana spokesman confirmed on Thursday the appointment of Roy Elliot, who up to now has been human resources adviser on KNOC's executive committee.
Elliot, a Scot who has been in Seoul since 2010, replaces Graham Scotton, who resumes his role as chief operating officer.
Scotton assumed responsibility for the day-to-day running of Dana in November when former chief executive Marcus Richards quit suddenly.
The spokesman said: “Dana confirms that Roy Elliot has been seconded from KNOC as acting chief executive on an interim basis. The company has begun a search for a permanent chief executive."
He added: "Dana retains all the necessary skills and capabilities required to operate in a safe and reliable way in the North Sea and its other jurisdictions.”
He declined to provide further details.
The appointment of a human resources specialist is bound to raise further questions about the direction in which KNOC is taking Dana, which it bought in a hostile takeover in 2010.
In the last nine months, seven senior executives – including Richards and former HR director Stuart Payne, as well as five regional managing directors - have all exited the company.
Elliot is understood to have worked in a series of human resources roles at a number of major oil and gas companies, including Marathon Oil, Enterprise Oil, Shell, Encana, Lukoil and BG Group.
According to the Korea Times, he was appointed to the KNOC board four years ago to advise on personnel policy.
Before entering the oil industry with initial spells in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Elliot – full name Robert Elliot – is understood to have studied English at Strathclyde University and Glasgow University in the UK.
For an exclusive update on Dana Petroleum’s strategy see Friday’s edition of Upstream newspaper.