El Paso Corp. (ticker: EP, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
El Paso Corporation Board Names Ronald L. Kuehn, Jr. CEO and Chairman; CEO Search ContinuesHOUSTON, Mar 12, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- El Paso Corporation
(NYSE: EP) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Ronald L.
Kuehn, Jr. to serve as chief executive officer and chairman of the board,
replacing William A. Wise, effective immediately. While Mr. Wise had previously
agreed to step down by the end of the year and assist in a CEO transition plan,
the board has now accelerated the transition to provide strong leadership and
stability while in search of a permanent CEO. The board recognizes that the CEO
search has been complicated by the announced proxy contest and believes that the
pursuit of the company's business strategy will be better served without
Ronald L. Kuehn, Jr., El Paso's lead director, stated, "I am honored to serve as
chairman and CEO while a new CEO is selected. All of the building blocks are in
place-El Paso is a great company with world-class assets and the finest
employees in the business. While our industry has recently faced unprecedented
challenges, I am confident that the board and company will continue to take the
necessary actions to preserve and enhance the value of El Paso."
"The company is making steady progress on executing our business plan. We have
signed agreements for or closed approximately 45 percent, or $1.5 billion, of
the $3.4 billion of asset sales the company expects in 2003. This includes the
anticipated closing this week of the agreement with Chesapeake Energy
Corporation for the sale of our Mid-Continent natural gas and oil reserves for
$500 million. We are also continuing to work towards resolution of the company's
outstanding legal and regulatory issues."
"Under Bill's direction, El Paso assembled North America's leading natural gas
franchise and the largest natural gas pipeline network in the United States. He
was instrumental in the creation and implementation to date of our 2003 business
plan," concluded Mr. Kuehn.
The company disclosed that Mr. Wise will receive severance benefits provided
under his pre-existing employment agreement, principally his salary, half of his
annual bonus, and pension benefits, for the remaining three-year term of the
agreement. Mr. Wise's outstanding loan obligations will remain payable to the
company. Under the agreement, Mr. Wise will no longer be eligible to receive
change in control benefits.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This release includes forward-looking statements and projections, made in
reliance on the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. The company has made every reasonable effort to ensure that
the information and assumptions on which these statements and projections are
based are current, reasonable, and complete. However, a variety of factors could
cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, anticipated
results or other expectations expressed in this release, including, without
limitation, our ability to attract and retain qualified members of the Board of
Directors; the successful recruitment and retention of a qualified CEO; the
successful implementation of the 2003 operational and financial plan; actions by
the credit rating agencies; the successful close of financing transactions; our
ability to successfully exit the energy trading business; our ability to divest
of certain non-core assets; changes in commodity prices for oil, natural gas,
and power; general economic and weather conditions in geographic regions or
markets served by El Paso Corporation and its affiliates, or where operations of
the company and its affiliates are located; the uncertainties associated with
governmental regulation; political and currency risks associated with
international operations of the company and its affiliates; inability to realize
anticipated synergies and cost savings associated with restructurings and
divestitures on a timely basis; difficulty in integration of the operations of
previously acquired companies, competition, and other factors described in the
company's (and its affiliates') Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
While the company makes these statements and projections in good faith, neither
the company nor its management can guarantee that anticipated future results
will be achieved. Reference must be made to those filings for additional
important factors that may affect actual results.
Additional Important Information
Prior to its 2003 annual meeting, El Paso will furnish to its shareholders El
Paso's definitive proxy statement relating to this meeting, together with a
WHITE proxy card. Shareholders are strongly advised to read this proxy statement
when it becomes available, as it will contain important information.
Shareholders will be able to obtain El Paso's proxy statement, any amendments or
supplements to the proxy statement and any other documents filed by El Paso with
the Securities and Exchange Commission for free at the Internet website
maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov . Copies of
the proxy statement and any amendments and supplements to the proxy statement
will also be available for free at El Paso's Internet Web site at www.elpaso.com
or by writing to El Paso Corporation, Investor Relations, PO Box 2511, Houston,
TX 77252. In addition, copies of the proxy materials may be requested by
contacting our proxy solicitor, MacKenzie Partners, Inc. at (800) 322-2885
Toll-Free or by email at email@example.com .
To the extent that individual customers, independent industry researchers,
financial analysts, or El Paso commissioned research, are quoted herein, it is
El Paso's policy to use reasonable efforts to verify the source and accuracy of
the quote. El Paso has not, however, sought or obtained the consent of the
quoted source to the use of such quote as proxy soliciting material. This
document may contain expressions of opinion and belief. Except as otherwise
expressly attributed to another individual or entity, these opinions and beliefs
are the opinions and beliefs of El Paso.
Information regarding the names, affiliation and interests of individuals who
may be deemed participants in the solicitation of proxies of El Paso's
shareholders is contained in a Schedule 14A filed by El Paso with the Securities
and Exchange Commission on February 18, 2003.
SOURCE El Paso Corporation
CONTACT: Communications and Government Affairs, Norma F. Dunn, Senior
Vice President, +1-713-420-3750, or fax, +1-713-420-3632, or Investor
Relations, Bruce L. Connery, Vice President, +1-713-420-5855, or fax,
+1-713-420-4417, both of El Paso Corporation; or Joele Frank or Dan Katcher,
both of Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, +1-212-355-4449, or fax,
+1-212-355-4554, for El Paso Corporation
Copyright (C) 2003 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.