How David Welch filled two large voids at Stone Energy and made new investments

David H. Welch, Chairman and CEO, Stone Energy Corp.

David H. Welch, Chairman and CEO, Stone Energy Corp.

Exploration  & Production

FINALIST

David H. Welch
Chairman and CEO
Stone Energy Corp.

David Welch became CEO of Stone Energy Corp. and not only had to fill a big void in leadership but he had to take care of some immediate operating challenges.

The company had lost its CFO, and CEO and founder. In addition, the company’s cost of capital was on the high side and had to be dealt with.

Welch worked quickly to revamp the company’s strategy and has continued to expand the business into new geographical markets.

The company hired several new executives to develop an exploration strategy. In addition, Stone Energy invested in deep water exploration, the Marcellus shale find and other new Gulf of Mexico properties to focus on finding new oil and gas reserves. The shift in strategy has yielded more than a 20 percent compounded annual growth rate in proven reserves.

Welch has led the company through Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and as well as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Subsequent to the oil spill, Stone made a commitment to increase investment in deepwater exploration and drilling, which has paid off as Stone Energy was one of the first to get back into the Gulf of Mexico deepwater exploration.

A believer in hiring talent and doing everything possible to keep that talent, Welch has established collaborative decision-making and focused incentive compensation plans as the two key components of his strategy to keep successful performers.

One of the most important components of the company culture is a focus on safety. Stone Energy’s safety record recorded that 2012 and 2011 were two of the safest years with no lost time to injuries in 2011.

Employees are also encouraged to give back to the community through several programs, including the Rigs to Reefs Initiative, which focuses on dismantling abandoned rigs in such a way as to allow the underwater rig structure to remain and support the ecosystem that has developed over the period the rig has been functional.

How to reach: Stone Energy Corp., www.stoneenergy.com

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