NORTH sea giant Serica Energy has appointed a new chief executive.

Chris Cox, who has more than 40 years of oil and gas industry experience, was named by Serica yesterday as the permanent successor to Mitch Flegg.

Mr Cox has held a wide range of roles with majors and independents over the course of the year, with experience of both private equity and publicly listed companies. In the last two decades he has led complex multi-asset and multi-country businesses, Serica said, having served as chief executive of Spirit Energy, interim boss of Capricorn Energy and chairman of Kellas Midstream.

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He will take up his role at Serica, which is the owner and operator of North Sea assets such as Bruce, Keith, and Rhum, on July 1. David Latin, chairman of Serica, will cease his role as interim chief executive that day.

Mr Cox, who holds a BSc in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College, London, said: "I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the team at Serica at this very important time. In the last several years, Serica has established itself as one of the leading producing companies in the UK North Sea. I will do my utmost to continue the company's reputation for safe high quality operational performance, to realise the significant potential for growth within the existing portfolio and to add further value for shareholders through M&A."

Mr Latin said: "We are delighted to have secured the services of Chris Cox after a rigorous recruitment process. His technical and commercial acumen, combined with his track record in leadership and teambuilding as CEO of substantial upstream entities operating in multiple geographies including the UK and Norway, make him an excellent fit with Serica's existing operations, exciting drilling programme currently underway and ambitions to grow through M&A (mergers and acquisitions).

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"With this appointment, we have our new executive team in place, and I look forward to working with them to deliver growth and returns for our investors."

Serica announced the departure of Mr Flegg in February. It said the industry veteran had been “highly instrumental” in growing Serica into a leading independent oil and gas producer. He led Serica through the integration of the Bruce, Keith and Rhum assets in 2018, and the acquisition of Tailwind Energy in 2023.