UK’s engineering and construction giant Petrofac has named Tareq Kawash as its new group chief executive, with Sami Iskander, the company’s current boss, expected to step down by March next year.

Petrofac said that Kawash "will be appointed group chief executive from 1 April 2023, following an orderly handover".

“Tareq will also be appointed as an executive director to Petrofac’s board of directors at that time,” a company statement said.

In his most recent role, Kawash was McDermott’s senior vice president of its onshore and offshore business lines, helming a major turnaround process at the Houston-headquartered company.

“With 30 years’ international EPC leadership experience, and an impressive business development track record, Tareq (Kawash) is exceptionally well placed to build on the foundations laid by Sami,” said Petrofac.

His appointment comes at a time when the engineering, procurement and construction contractor is aiming to reposition itself in the Middle East, most prominently in the United Arab Emirates.

Petrofac has a longstanding work relationship with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), having executed multiple EPC projects in the emirate.

Adnoc earlier this year revoked the suspension of the UK contractor Petrofac, allowing the company to participate in key tenders for the state-owned giant.

Back on track

In March, Adnoc informed Petrofac that it bid again for new work after a 12-month ban that greatly impacted its workflow in the Middle East region.

Petrofac on 15 March 2021 was suspended from taking part in Adnoc tenders after a former executive pleaded guilty to bribery offences involving oil deals worth more than $3 billion in the UAE.

Wider foothold

Kawash’s role at McDermott and his wider foothold in the Middle East oil and gas industry is expected to benefit Petrofac in the longer run, industry sources told Upstream.

The company still faces key work challenges in a few Middle East markets, including Saudi Arabia, and Kawash is expected to reposition the company in those markets.

Petrofac’s chairman Rene Medori noted that Iskander’s “contribution to the company over the last two years has been invaluable".

“Having overseen the resolution of the [UK's] SFO’s (Serious Fraud Office) historic investigation and led a comprehensive refinancing programme, Sami has reshaped the business and put it firmly on a path to growth,” he said.

Kawash said that he is looking forward to “leading the team in the next stage of its journey back to growth and leadership in the sector, building on the excellent progress Sami has made".

Kawash's appointment is subject to shareholders' approval, which will be sought at the next annual general meeting.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.