Capricorn Energy has appointed a new chief executive who will lead plans to return $575 million (£461m) to shareholders following an investor revolt and the launch of a restructuring programme that will slash its UK operations.

Randy Neely, until recently president and chief executive of Egypt-focused operator TransGlobe Energy, is set to join on June 1 with interim chief executive Chris Cox departing after a handover period. 

The company is seeking smaller offices for its headquarters in Edinburgh after announcing last month that it had entered redundancy consultations with approximately 120 of its 238 global employees. Once finished, Capricorn expects to have less than 40 people working in the UK.

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The move came in the wake of a shareholder revolt led by Palliser Capital that derailed the previous executive team's proposed merger with Israel's NewMed, triggering the departure of seven members of its board of directors. The new board has decided to focus on the company's operations in Egypt.

In conjunction with today's release of Capricorn's full-year results, the company said it plans to commit $450m to a special dividend to be paid to shareholders in May, a further $100m in the fourth quarter, and a share buyback of at least $25m.

Capricorn said the $100m payout will depend on revenues generated by its Egyptian assets, the outcome of negotiations over its Egyptian licences, and movements in oil and gas prices this year. The compmany noted that it also had $97m in receivables outstanding from Egypt as of the end of last year.