Beach Petroleum has begun the search for a successor to long-serving chief executive Reg Nelson, who is credited with turning the Adelaide company into one of Australia's oil and gas leaders.
Mr Nelson's contract was due to expire on June 30 next year.
But Beach said yesterday that Mr Nelson would now stay for an additional year, until July 1, 2015 to allow for a search for the new executive and then a"smooth transition".
"(Mr Nelson's) drive and passion for the company is one of the key reasons Beach is where it is today," chairman Glenn Davis said. "With its portfolio of exciting assets, we expect Beach will experience significant growth in the future and, gladly, Reg will be an integral part of this." Beach shares firmed 1Â¢ to $1.36 to value the company at $1.7 billion.
Mr Nelson has been Beach's chief executive since 1995.Under his leadership Beach has emerged as one of the biggest players in the Cooper Basin as well as a leader in Australia's fledgling shale sector, attracting Chevron as a farm-in partner in the process.