Cobalt’s vision is to become one of the world’s most admired exploration and production companies by keeping commitments, adhering to our values, achieving results as promised, and consistently delivering top quartile rates of return. Our business model allows us to move quickly and seamlessly through the exploration, appraisal, development and production processes.
Cobalt’s pioneering approach to oil exploration was built on the unique idea that an agile company, armed with exceptional human talent, the best available seismic data, outstanding assets and a disciplined business model, can compete with the world’s largest energy companies. Through our experienced workforce, innovative technology and pioneering siting techniques, the company has built a carefully selected, world-class oil portfolio in the deepwater regions of the Gulf of Mexico and offshore West Africa.
As we transition from an oil exploration company to exploration and development, we continue our endeavor to be a successful, enduring enterprise that will generate wealth for our investors and provide an outstanding professional experience for our team members. Our track record of exploration excellence continues with seven deepwater discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. These achievements, combined with a disciplined plan for future oil production, position the company exceptionally well for long-term value creation.
At Cobalt, we are discovering opportunity and producing value.
The Cobalt team encompasses highly experienced geoscientists, engineers, business professionals and technicians, led by a management team with a proven record of success.
Our highly-skilled professionals have an average of more than 25 years of oil exploration, development and production experience. Members of our management team have negotiated globally significant commercial agreements and developed many long-standing relationships with independent, major and national oil companies, host governments and service providers.
Cobalt’s staff and management are motivated by a shared vision and clear business model, enabling them to do what they do best: find, develop and produce oil. Our people combine the best data and technology with the expertise and collective insight necessary to locate the next best opportunities, and reduce cycle times at every phase of the exploration, appraisal, development and production process.
Cobalt’s management team has a proven, differentiated track record of successfully participating in our industry’s largest global projects over the past two decades. We have played key roles in major offshore discoveries, and have been instrumental in bringing these large-scale global hydrocarbon projects through development to production.
A few examples of major discoveries and development/production projects in which management has played a key role include: Atlantis, Great White and Thunderhorse in the Gulf of Mexico; Blocks 15, 17, 18, and 31 in Angola.
We have negotiated globally significant and challenging commercial agreements, and we have developed many long-standing relationships with independent oil companies, host governments, national oil companies and service providers – all of which enhances Cobalt’s competitiveness and our ability to deliver.
Joseph H. Bryant—Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph H. Bryant has served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our Board of Directors since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Bryant has 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from September 2004 to September 2005, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Unocal Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company. From May 2000 to August 2004, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Exploration (Angola) Limited, from January 1997 to May 2000, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Canada Energy Company (including serving as President of Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. between January 1997 and May 2000, prior to its merger with BP Canada), and from 1993 to 1996, Mr. Bryant served as President of a joint venture between Amoco Orient Petroleum Company and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation focused on developing the offshore Liuhua fields. Prior to 1993, Mr. Bryant held executive leadership positions in Amoco Production Company’s business units in The Netherlands and the Gulf of Mexico, serving in many executive capacities and in numerous engineering, financial and operational roles throughout the continental United States. Mr. Bryant served on the board of directors of Berry Petroleum Company from October 2005 until May 2011. Mr. Bryant currently also serves on the board of directors of the American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska.
Van P. Whitfield—Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Van P. Whitfield has served as Chief Operating Officer since September 2011. Mr. Whitfield served as our Executive Vice President, Operations and Development from May 2006 until September 2011. Mr. Whitfield has over 38 years of experience leading oil and gas production operations and marketing activities in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to joining Cobalt, from May 2003 to May 2005, Mr. Whitfield served as Senior Vice President, Western Operations of CDX Gas LLC, an independent oil and gas company. From October 2002 to April 2003 he served as Production Unit Leader for the Angola Liquid Natural Gas Project, BP Exploration (Angola) Limited and from June 2001 to October 2002, he held the position of Vice President, Power and Water of ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia (Southern Ghawar) Ltd, an exploration and production company. Mr. Whitfield has also held the positions of Senior Vice President of BP Global Power, President and General Manager of Amoco Netherlands BV and Production Manager of Amoco (U.K.) Exploration Company, both exploration and production companies. In addition, he has held numerous operational and technical leadership positions in various Amoco Production Company locations, including: the position of Production Manager, West Texas and Engineering Manager, Worldwide. Mr. Whitfield has a Bachelor of Science Degree—Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University and is a graduate of the Executive Program at Stanford University.
John P. Wilkirson—Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President
John P. Wilkirson has served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President since June 2010. From 2007 until June 2010, Mr. Wilkirson served as our Vice President, Strategic Planning and Investor Relations. Mr. Wilkirson has 32 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from 1998 to 2005, Mr. Wilkirson was Vice President, Strategic Planning and Economics of Unocal Corporation, where his primary responsibilities included identifying and addressing major strategic issues, managing the global asset and investment portfolio, leading the economic analysis and evaluations function and overseeing performance management. He played an instrumental role as the integration executive for Unocal Corporation’s merger into Chevron Corporation. Prior to Unocal Corporation, from 1992 to 1997, Mr. Wilkirson was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, Inc., a management consulting firm, serving energy clients on strategy and performance improvement engagements. Additional industry experience includes positions at Exxon Company USA from 1980 to 1984 and Sohio Petroleum Company and BP from 1984 to 1991, in petroleum engineering and commercial assignments. Mr. Wilkirson has a Bachelor of Science with Highest Honors in Petroleum Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
James W. Farnsworth—Chief Exploration Officer and Executive Vice President, Exploration and New Ventures
James W. Farnsworth has served as Chief Exploration Officer since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Farnsworth has had more than 28 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Farnsworth held the position of Vice President of World-Wide Exploration and Technology, at BP p.l.c., a global energy company, responsible for BP p.l.c.’s global exploration business inclusive of North America, West Africa, North Africa, South America, Russia and the Far East. His prior positions at BP p.l.c., from 1983 to 2003, include: Vice President of North America Exploration; Vice President of Gulf of Mexico Exploration; Exploration Manager for Alaska; Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Production Manager for Non-operated Fields. Mr. Farnsworth has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from Indiana University and a Masters of Science Degree in Geophysics from Western Michigan University.
James H. Painter—Executive Vice President, Execution and Appraisal
James H. Painter has served as Executive Vice President, Execution and Appraisal since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Painter has more than 33 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from February 2004 to September 2005, Mr. Painter was the Senior Vice President of Exploration and Technology at Unocal Corporation. Prior to his position at Unocal Corporation (following the merger between Ocean Energy Inc. and Devon Energy Corporation), from April 2003 to October 2003, Mr. Painter served as the Vice President of Exploration at Devon Energy Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company. From January 1995 to April 2003, Mr. Painter served in various manager and executive positions at Ocean Energy Inc. (and its predecessor Flores and Rucks, Inc.) with his final position as Senior Vice President of Gulf of Mexico and International Exploration. Additional industry experience includes positions at Forest Oil Corporation, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, Mobil Oil Corporation and Superior Oil Company, Inc. Mr. Painter holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Louisiana State University.
Michael D. Drennon—Executive Vice President, Developments
Michael D. Drennon has served as Executive Vice President, Developments since April 2010 and has 36 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Cobalt, Mr. Drennon served as Vice President, Operations for Parker Drilling Company from 2005 until April 2010. Mr. Drennon’s additional industry experience includes various executive positions at BP and Amoco in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Trinidad, Norway and Angola. Mr. Drennon received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1977.
Jeffrey A. Starzec—Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Jeffrey A. Starzec has served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel since January 2012. Mr. Starzec also serves as our Corporate Secretary. From June 2009 until December 2011, Mr. Starzec served as our Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Cobalt, Mr. Starzec practiced corporate and securities law at Vinson & Elkins LLP from July 2006 until June 2009, where he represented a variety of energy companies, including Cobalt in connection with its strategic alliance with Total in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Starzec began his legal career at Baker Botts LLP in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Richard A. Smith—Senior Vice President and President, Cobalt Angola
Richard A. Smith has served as Senior Vice President and President, Cobalt Angola since November 2013. Prior to holding this position, Mr. Smith served as Vice President, Investor Relations, Compliance and Risk Management from December 2012 until November 2013. Before that, Mr. Smith served as Vice President, Investor Relations and Planning from October 2011 until December 2012. Mr. Smith served as Vice President, International Business Development, Commercial and Finance from September 2010 until October 2011. From October 2007 until September 2010, Mr. Smith served as our Vice President. Mr. Smith has over 30 years of oil and gas industry experience in North American and international markets. Prior to joining Cobalt, from September 2005 to September 2007, Mr. Smith was Vice President, Joint Venture Development Corporate Affairs for the BP Russia Offshore Strategic Performance Unit, an oil and gas exploration and production unit of BP. From February 2002 to August 2005, he held the position of Vice President and then Executive Director for BP Exploration (Angola) Limited, an oil and gas exploration and production company operating in Angola. Mr. Smith's additional industry experience includes leadership positions at various companies in the oil and gas industry operating in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary.
Lynne L. Hackedorn—Vice President, Government and Public Affairs
Lynne L. Hackedorn has served as Vice President, Government and Public Affairs since October 2011. Ms. Hackedorn served as our Vice President, Government, Public Affairs and Land from September 2010 until October 2011. From April 2006 until September 2010, Ms. Hackedorn served as our Vice President, Land. Ms. Hackedorn has over 28 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from 2001 to 2006, Ms. Hackedorn served as Senior Landman at Hydro Gulf of Mexico, L.L.C., formerly Spinnaker Exploration Company, L.L.C., an oil and gas exploration and production company, handling a variety of land functions within both the shelf and deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico. From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Hackedorn held management positions within the offshore Gulf of Mexico regions of Sonat Exploration GOM, Inc. and El Paso Production GOM, Inc., both oil and gas exploration and production companies. From 1994 to 1998, Ms. Hackedorn was a Landman with Zilkha Energy Company, also an oil and gas exploration and production company. Ms. Hackedorn began her career as a Landman in 1984 at ARCO Oil and Gas Company, where she worked in the onshore South Texas region from 1984 until 1990, and then in the offshore Gulf of Mexico region from 1990 until 1994. Ms. Hackedorn currently also serves on the board of directors of National Ocean Industries Association. Ms. Hackedorn earned her Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Houston, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Wanda M. Lewis—Vice President, Human Resources
Wanda M. Lewis has been our Vice President Human Resources since August 2012 and has 27 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Cobalt, Ms. Lewis served as Vice President Human Resources for BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. from 2010 to 2012, Vice President for BP North America Gas from 2004 to 2009 and Vice President Human Resources for BP North America Exploration from 2001 to 2003. Ms. Lewis served as a BP owner-loanee to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company leading a significant organizational change effort. Ms. Lewis was named to the BP Amoco merger team and led the HR function for the Arco integration in Alaska. She served on the board for Covenant House of Alaska and most recently served as the Vice Chair of the American Red Cross of Alaska board.
Our Board of Directors is responsible to Cobalt’s shareholders for the oversight of the company. To fulfill its responsibilities, the Board of Directors follows the procedures and standards that are set forth in the charters below. Cobalt’s corporate governance is designed to enhance our ability to pursue the objectives critical to energy exploration and intended to ensure ongoing accountability and transparency to shareholders.
Cobalt's audit committee has established a confidential reporting system for the receipt, retention, and treatment of problems, issues and concerns received by Cobalt including with respect to accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters; our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and other company policies; non-compliance with laws; or any other matter. You can report your concern anonymously.
If you would like to report a concern, please choose one of the options below:
1. Call the Cobalt Hotline: (800) 338-9088
2. Click here to submit a written report
Board of Directors
Joseph H. Bryant (Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer)
Joseph H. Bryant has been our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board since our inception in November 2005. Mr. Bryant has 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Cobalt, from September 2004 to September 2005, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Unocal Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company. From May 2000 to August 2004, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Exploration (Angola) Limited, from January 1997 to May 2000, Mr. Bryant was President of BP Canada Energy Company (including serving as President of Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. between January 1997 and May 2000, prior to its merger with BP Canada), and from 1993 to 1996, Mr. Bryant served as President of a joint venture between Amoco Orient Petroleum Company and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation focused on developing the offshore Liuhua fields. Prior to 1993, Mr. Bryant held executive leadership positions in Amoco Production Company’s business units in The Netherlands and the Gulf of Mexico, serving in many executive capacities and in numerous engineering, financial and operational roles throughout the continental United States. Mr. Bryant served on the board of directors of the Berry Petroleum Company from October 2005 until May 2011. Mr. Bryant currently serves on the board of directors of the American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Bryant holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska.
Peter R. Coneway (Director)
Peter R. Coneway has been a member of the Board since October 2009 and is a member of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Coneway is a Managing Director of Riverstone LLC. Prior to joining Riverstone in March 2009, Mr. Coneway served as United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2006 to 2008. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was a Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Head of the Houston office, which he founded in 1975. Having started at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1969, he was named a General Partner in 1978 and established Goldman Sachs’ Equities Sales, Trading and Research Division in Tokyo in 1987. Mr. Coneway holds a B.B.A. from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Jack E. Golden (Director)
Jack E. Golden, 64, has been a member of the Board since January 2010 and is a member of our Compensation and Audit Committees. Dr. Golden has well-rounded expertise and experience in the global oil and gas industry. After earning his Ph.D. in Physics, Dr. Golden joined Shell in 1977, later joining BP p.l.c. (‘‘BP’’) in 1982. He held numerous executive positions in North America, including President of BP’s North American E&P business. For much of his last decade with BP, he served as Group Vice President—Exploration and Production. During this period, he was involved with the development and operation of BP’s business in North America, Europe, South America, West Africa and Russia. Dr. Golden retired from BP at the beginning of 2006. He is currently Managing Director of Edgewater Energy LLC, a Texas based oil and gas company, and a director of Atwood Oceanics, Inc., an international offshore drilling company. Additionally, Dr. Golden is President of Four Winds Consulting LLC, which served as advisor to the Board from March 2007 until December 2009.
Jon A. Marshall (Director)
Jon A. Marshall has been a member of the Board since May 2010 and is Chairman of our Compensation Committee and a member of our Audit Committee. Mr. Marshall served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Transocean Inc. from November 2007 until May 2008 and was a member of Transocean’s Board of Directors from November 2007 until December 2008. Mr. Marshall served as a director and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalSantaFe Corporation from May 2003 until November 2007, when it merged with a subsidiary of Transocean, and served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of GlobalSantaFe from November 2001 until May 2003. From 1998 to November 2001, Mr. Marshall was employed with Global Marine Inc. where he held the same position. Mr. Marshall currently serves as a director of Noble Corporation. Mr. Marshall received his B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy.
Kenneth W. Moore (Director)
Kenneth W. Moore has been a member of the Board since August 2007. Mr. Moore is a Managing Director of First Reserve Corporation, a private equity company which invests exclusively in the energy industry, which he joined in 2004. Prior to joining First Reserve, Mr. Moore spent four years with Morgan Stanley in New York. Mr. Moore served as a director of Chart Industries, Inc. from October 2005 to November 2007 and Dresser-Rand Group Inc. from October 2004 to May 2007. Mr. Moore holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.
Kenneth A. Pontarelli (Director)
Kenneth A. Pontarelli has been a member of the Board since our inception in November 2005 and is Chairman of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Pontarelli is a Managing Director in the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Mr. Pontarelli joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1992 and became a managing director in 2004 and a partner in 2006. He is a director of Expro International Group Limited, CCS Corporation, Energy Future Holdings Corp., and Kinder Morgan, Inc. Mr. Pontarelli served on the board of directors of CVR Energy, Inc. from October 2007 until May 2010. He holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Myles W. Scoggins (Director)
Myles W. Scoggins has been a member of the Board since March 2010 and is a member of our Audit and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. In June 2006, Dr. Scoggins was appointed President of the Colorado School of Mines, an engineering and applied science research university with strong ties to the oil and gas industry. Dr. Scoggins retired in 2004 after a 34-year career with Mobil Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation, where he held senior executive positions in the upstream oil and gas business. From 1999 to 2004 he served as Executive Vice President of Exxon Mobil Production Company. Prior to the merger of Mobil and Exxon in late 1999, he was President, International Exploration & Production and Global Exploration, and an officer and member of the executive committee of Mobil Oil Corporation. He currently also serves as a director of QEP Resources, Inc., and Laredo Petroleum, Inc. and was a director for Venoco, Inc. from June 2007 until October 2012, Trico Marine Services, Inc. from March 2005 until August 2011 and Questar Corporation from February 2005 until June 2010. In addition, he is a member of the National Advisory Council of the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Dr. Scoggins has a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Tulsa.
D. Jeff van Steenbergen (Director)
D. Jeff van Steenbergen has been a member of the Board since our inception in November 2005 and is a member of our Compensation Committee. Mr. van Steenbergen is a co-founding and General Partner of KERN Partners Ltd., an energy sector private equity firm based in Calgary. He has been with this firm since 2001 and serves on the boards of six of KERN’s international and Canadian portfolio companies. Prior to that, Mr. van Steenbergen was a Managing Director and co-head of North American Oil and Gas with JP Morgan and Co., and before that was a Managing Director with a leading Canadian investment banking firm. He has been active in the North American and international energy sector for close to 35 years and has a broad range of experience as a private equity investor, investment banker, and in operating and operations management roles with Mobil Corporation and with Schlumberger. Mr. van Steenbergen holds a B.A.S.C. in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University and an M.B.A. from Dalhousie University, and attended executive programs at Harvard Business School, Stanford University and INSEAD.
William P. Utt (Director)
William P. Utt, has been a member of the Board since March 2013 and is a member of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Utt is currently the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of KBR, Inc. Prior to joining KBR in 2006, Mr. Utt was President and CEO of SUEZ Energy North America and its predecessor companies from 1995 to 2006, with responsibility for the LNG, retail energy, energy marketing and trading, power generation and development businesses. Mr. Utt currently serves on the National Petroleum Council, which provides advice and analysis to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Mr. Utt holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and has a master’s degree in business administration from The Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
Martin H. Young Jr. (Director)
Martin H. Young, Jr. has been a member of the Board since October 2009 and is Chairman of our Audit Committee. Mr. Young has been the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Falcon Seaboard Diversified, Inc. (‘‘Falcon’’) and its predecessor companies, Falcon Seaboard Holdings, L.P. and Falcon Seaboard Resources, Inc., since 1992. Falcon is a private energy company involved in natural gas exploration and production, real estate and private investments. In July 2007, Mr. Young retired as Chairman of the Board (a position he had held for 11 years) and as a member of the Board of the Texas Mutual Insurance Company (a position he had held for 12 years), the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the State of Texas. Prior to his employment with Falcon, Mr. Young had 13 years of banking experience, the last ten working for a major California bank as the Vice President/Area Manager for the corporate banking group. Mr. Young currently also serves as Chairman of the board of directors of the Berry Petroleum Company, an independent energy company, a position he has held for eight of the past thirteen years he has served on Berry Petroleum’s board. Mr. Young holds a B.B.A. from Duquesne University and an M.B.A. from Southern Illinois University.
Committee Composition and Charters
Below is a summary of our committees, their membership, and supporting Charters. To read more about any of the committees, click on the committee names in the Committee Charter table below.
Cobalt is uncompromising in our core values. They provide the standards for the highest level of ethics, beliefs and practices that lead to world-class performance in achieving our vision.
First and foremost, Cobalt is committed to operating worldwide in a safe, ethical, responsible manner, respecting the environment, our employees, contractors and the communities where we operate.
We believe that a proactive commitment to Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) and clear accountability for performance are critical to our success. Our comprehensive HSSE Policy applies to all Cobalt employees, contractors and projects worldwide. This is the basis for our enterprise HSSE management system, which is designed to integrate HSSE into all aspects of our business.
Our core values, listed below, are reflected in everything we do.
- Commitment to Health, Safety, Security and Environment: Apply the highest level health, safety, security and environmental standards in everything we do;
- Outstanding Value for Shareholders: Focus all our decisions to deliver the greatest value to our shareholders and investors;
- Best Talent, Team and Resources: Attract and leverage world class talent, team and resources bringing together our core competencies for excellence;
- Action Oriented and Results Focused: Action driven with thoughtful analysis, nimbleness, and efficiency to achieve results;
- Legendary Leadership and Entrepreneurship: Be renowned leaders that navigate a strategy for high performance and entrepreneurship;
- Trustworthy and Integrity in All That We Do: Work with the highest levels of integrity, being trustworthy as partners and as colleagues;
- Socially and Professionally Rewarding: Provide a positive productive work environment for great ideas to incubate and where significant contributions lead to substantial rewards.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please let us know.
Lynne L. Hackedorn
Vice President, Government and Public Affairs
Cobalt International Energy, Inc.
920 Memorial City Way, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77024
Tel. +1 713-579-9100 | Fax. +1 713-579-9184