Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has lost two seasoned crude oil traders from its US energy trading group, and a third is leaving the UK, according to sources familiar with the matter, as a result of the continued exodus of top talent from the oil company.
Exxon changed course to expand its oil and petroleum products trade last year as demand for fuel fell during the pandemic. In 2020, the company suffered a $ 22.4 billion loss, resulting in significant work and cost savings across the business.
Veterans of oil traders Michael Paradise and Adam Buller, who joined Exxon in 2019 after a long career elsewhere, stepped down last week, sources said. Paul Butcher, a UK oil trader, plans to leave in September, another person familiar with the operation said.
The Butcher was hired in 2018 as a North Sea crude oil trader and operations accounting advisor for his Leatherhead division near London. Previously, he worked at BP Plc (BP.L), Glencore Plc (GLEN.L) and Vitol SA (VITOLV.UL).
Exxon declined to comment on the departure, citing personnel issues.
“We are pleased with our progress over the past couple of years in developing our team and capabilities,” said spokesman Casey Norton. Exxon’s scale and reach “gives our sales teams a broad vision and unique insights and insights” that can benefit shareholders.
Paradise was a respected crude oil trader who came to Exxon from the Noble Group (NOBG.SI) and was previously Director of Crude Oil Trading at Citigroup Inc (CN) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA). Buller joined Exxon in late 2019 after trading oil with Petrolama Energy Canada and Spain’s Repsol SA (REP.MC). Previously, he was Director of International Oil Trade at BG Group.
Both will join Pilot Flying J, a closely-run Knoxville, Tennessee-based company that operates retail fueling centers in North America. It has expanded into crude oil marketing, fuel transportation and storage and has its own sales unit, which is managed by the former Noble Group CEO.
A spokesman for Pilot Flying J declined to comment.
Exxon hired Paradise, Buller and a group of experienced traders from competitors and international oil trading firms, hoping to replicate the success of BP and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in trading. Initially, she saw expansion as a way to make a profit, knowing about consumer demand, oil production, pipelines and fuel transportation.
Trading groups BP and Shell took advantage of market volatility last year to generate huge trading profits by buying oil when it fell below $ 20 a barrel last spring. They sold it at higher prices for future shipping, generating multi-billion dollar profits in a year. read more
But Exxon curtailed trading when the market fell and sought to preserve its capital to maintain dividend payments to shareholders, while competitors cut their payouts.
Exxon has systematically avoided risk by leveraging most of the capital required for speculative trades, subjecting most trades to high-level management scrutiny, and limiting some traders to only long-term Exxon clients.
The company later laid off some employees and offered early retirement to others, Reuters reported. Exxon does not separately report on the performance of its sales force. read more
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.