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Cheniere Energy Replacing CEO Souki

Blog Post created by jillian.sherburne Champion on Dec 14, 2015

By David Benoit and Ryan Dezember

Published: Dec 14, 2015 7:49 a.m. ET

Shake-up comes four months after Carl Icahn took a big stake in the company

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Charif Souki, CEO of Cheniere Energy

 

Cheniere Energy Inc.’s board has voted to replace Chief Executive Charif Souki, as the company prepares to become the first to export natural gas from the mainland U.S.

The shake-up comes four months after activist investor Carl Icahn took a big stake in the company and won two board seats.

Souki couldn’t be reached for comment.

The decision occurred at a weekend board meeting, where directors looked to clamp down on Souki’s goal of building the company beyond its core plan of exporting liquefied natural gas, or LNG, according to people familiar with the matter.

Souki has proposed the company build a second facility in Texas before its first, in Louisiana, is up and running. He has also suggested the company, which hasn’t turned a profit in its 19 years in business, could expand into other parts of the energy industry.

Cheniere’s LNG, -2.13%  directors felt the company needed a more experienced operator as it nears completion of its Louisiana export facility, the people said. Neal A. Shear, a director, will take over as chief executive on an interim basis while Cheniere hunts for a new leader. Director Andrea Botta will serve as the company’s chairman.

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