Press Release

New leadership appointments to deliver Ithaca Energy’s next phase of growth following transformational Business Combination

28 May 2024

Board of Directors and Executive Management Changes

New leadership appointments to deliver Ithaca Energy’s next phase of growth following transformational Business Combination

Ithaca Energy plc, (“Ithaca Energy” or the “Company”), a leading independent oil and gas operator in the North Sea today announces a number of changes to its Board of Directors and Executive Management team to strengthen the Company’s leadership as it embarks on its next phase of growth, having recently announced its proposed transformational business combination with substantially all of the upstream assets of Eni in the UK (the “Eni UK Business”) (the “Business Combination”).

The Business Combination, announced on 23 April, will when complete create a UKCS powerhouse with the single largest resource base in the UK North Sea, creating a strategic platform for long-term growth in the basin and the pathway to becoming the largest producer in the UKCS by 20301. The combined business will benefit from complementary cashflows of a diversified and balanced portfolio with the potential for material long-term organic and inorganic growth and significant value creation unlocked through operational and financial synergies. The highly-cash generative combination provides material dividend capacity with an ambition for up to $500 million total dividends in 2024 and 20252.

The Board, which has also consulted with the Company’s majority shareholder and Eni in arriving at its decisions, believes that the new leadership appointments, detailed below, will strengthen the Company’s executive leadership, providing the business with the appropriate leadership composition on completion to deliver the ambitious growth plans of the combined business. The changes include:

  • Departure of Gilad Myerson as Executive Chairman, succeeded by Dave Blackwood, CBE who will become interim Non-Executive Chairman, to be followed by the proposed appointment of Yaniv Friedman as Executive Chairman, once all formal conditions to his appointment have been satisfied
  • Proposed appointment of Luciano Vasques as Chief Executive Officer on completion of the Business Combination
  • Iain Lewis to return to his role of Chief Financial Officer at Business Combination completion, following his spell as interim Chief Executive Officer
  • Appointment of Odin Estensen as Chief Operating Officer
  • Appointment of Zvika Zivlin as Senior Independent Director, as announced 16 May

Executive Chairman Succession

Having guided the Company through its acquisition-led growth strategy since 2019, culminating in the recent Business Combination with ENI UK, Gilad Myerson will now be stepping down from his role as Executive Chairman with immediate effect. Gilad has been an instrumental part of Ithaca Energy’s growth, increasing its footprint, production, reserves and cash flows significantly through the integration of Chevron North Sea, the acquisitions of Mitsui UK, Marubeni UK, Summit E&P (UK) and Siccar Point Energy, the milestone sanctioning of the Rosebank development, the Company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and the recent announcement of the transformational Business Combination.

Gilad will be available as an advisor to the Company to provide assistance as required for a limited period of time. Dave Blackwood, CBE will serve as non-executive Chairman until his successor is formally appointed then returning to his role as non-executive director.

Dave Blackwood joined Ithaca Energy’s Board in October 2022 as non-executive director and Chair of the Health, Safety, Environmental and Security committee, after a distinguished career spanning 47 years in the global energy sector, including heading up bp’s upstream business in the UK and Norway. Dave brings considerable leadership and Board experience and a deep understanding of the oil and gas industry with significant technical and commercial expertise.

The Company is pleased to announce the proposed appointment of Yaniv Friedman as Executive Chairman in the coming weeks, once all formal conditions of his appointment have been satisfied. Yaniv has significant global executive experience working in the energy and infrastructure sectors and brings considerable strategic, commercial, public company and M&A expertise. Yaniv most recently held the role of CEO of Modiin Energy LP, an oil and gas partnership listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with operations including development projects in the US as well as exploration offshore Israel. Prior to this, Yaniv served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Newmed Energy LP, Israel’s leading energy partnership in the exploration, development, production and sale of natural gas. Yaniv further held other senior executive positions in public and private energy companies.

Chief Executive Officer Appointment

Ithaca Energy is delighted to announce that Eni has proposed the appointment of Luciano Vasques as Chief Executive Officer, subject to the completion of customary onboarding processes. Luciano’s appointment will become effective on completion of the Business Combination and he will immediately join the Ithaca Energy Board. Luciano brings a wealth of executive and energy industry experience with a career spanning over 30 years covering a range of leadership, technical and operational roles. Luciano currently holds the role of Managing Director of Eni UK Limited and led the recent acquisition and integration of Neptune Energy into Eni UK’s operations and prior to this he held the role of Head of Central Asia for Eni SpA overseeing interests in two giant oil and gas fields, Kashagan and Karachaganak. During Luciano's upstream career he has demonstrated a track record of successfully overseeing and delivering multibillion dollar developments and operations across Eni S.p.A.’s global business that will prove invaluable as the Company embarks on the development of its high-value greenfield portfolio. Luciano sits on the steering committee of the North Sea Transition Deal, led by NSTA.

Iain Lewis will continue to hold the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer until Luciano’s appointment, and on completion of the Business Combination will return to his role as Chief Financial Officer.

Chief Operating Officer Appointment

The Company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Odin Estensen as Chief Operating Officer. With more than 35 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector, Odin brings a wealth of operating experience and joins Ithaca Energy from Neptune Energy where he served as Managing Director of its Norwegian and UK businesses. Prior to this Odin held various senior roles at Shell across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Odin will join the Company immediately.

Dave Blackwood, CBE, interim Non-Executive Chairman, said:

“The Board thanks Gilad for his strategic insight and leadership over the last four years. The transformational Business Combination with Eni’s UK Business marks an appropriate time to change the executive leadership of the Company and we wish him well for the future.”

“We are delighted to announce a number of high-quality Board and Executive Management appointees, positioning the Company for further success as we move into the next exciting phase of growth as the largest resource holder in the UK North Sea following the Business Combination with Eni’s UK Business. The proposed appointment of Yaniv will further support the Company’s international growth aspirations, building on his demonstrable global commercial and leadership track record in the sector. Luciano’s sector and integration experience will be critical for the Company as we continue to pursue organic growth from our high-value development portfolio and successfully deliver the many growth opportunities of the Business Combination. Lastly, the appointment of Odin will provide further rigour to our daily operations to ensure we continue to deliver safe and reliable operations. The Board looks forward with confidence to working with Yaniv, Luciano and Odin in their respective new roles.”

“On behalf of the Board, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Iain Lewis for his stewardship of the Company as interim Chief Executive Officer, which role he will continue in until Luciano officially takes office, upon which Iain will return to his role as Chief Financial Officer.”

Gilad Myerson commented:

“I am extremely proud of what Ithaca Energy has achieved during my tenure at the Company. The recent announcement of the Business Combination with Eni’s UK Business, is transformational and I am pleased to have led the Company through to this significant milestone.”

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014 of 16 April 2014 (MAR) as it forms part of domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

To the extent necessary, information required to be disclosed under LR 9.6.13 R (1) to (6) in respect of Yaniv Freidman or Luciano Vasques will be disclosed by way of RIS upon formal confirmation of their respective appointments.


Ithaca Energy

Kathryn Reid – Head of Investor Relations, Corporate Affairs & Communications

FTI Consulting (PR Advisers to Ithaca Energy)

+44 (0)203 727 1000

Ben Brewerton / Nick Hennis / Rosie Corbett


1 Wood Mackenzie, Ithaca Energy (NSAI CPR), Eni UK CPR (prepared by NSAI dated 25 March 2024) and ERCE CPR, as of 31 December 2023

2 All dividends are subject to operational performance and commodity prices as well as Combined Group refinancing and availability of distributable profits

Note to editors:

About Ithaca Energy plc

Ithaca Energy is a leading UK independent exploration and production company focused on the UK North Sea with a strong track record of material value creation. In recent years, the Company has been focused on growing its portfolio of assets through both organic investment programmes and acquisitions and has seen a period of significant M&A driven growth centred upon two transformational acquisitions in recent years. Today, Ithaca Energy is one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (the “UKCS”), ranking second by resources.

With stakes in six of the ten largest fields in the UKCS and two of UKCS’s largest pre-development fields, and with energy security currently being a key focus of the UK Government, the Group believes it can utilise its significant reserves and operational capabilities to play a key role in delivering security of domestic energy supply from the UKCS.

Ithaca Energy serves today’s needs for domestic energy through operating sustainably. The Group achieves this by harnessing Ithaca Energy’s deep operational expertise and innovative minds to collectively challenge the norm, continually seeking better ways to meet evolving demands.

Ithaca Energy’s commitment to delivering attractive and sustainable returns is supported by a well-defined emissions-reduction strategy with a target of achieving net zero by 2040.

Ithaca Energy plc was admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (LON: ITH) on 14 November 2022.