Pioneer Natural Resources Names New Chief Executive to Succeed Retiring CEO

Currently Pioneer's president and chief operating officer, Richard D. "Rich" Dealy brings more than 30 years of industry experience in roles spanning nearly all operations and business functions at Pioneer and its predecessor company. He will replace the retiring Scott Sheffield.

Richard D. Dealy has been announced as the next CEO of Irving-based shale oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co., replacing Scott D. Sheffield, who will retire from the company at the end of the year.

Dealy will assume his new role on January 1.

Currently Pioneer’s president and chief operating officer, Dealy brings more than 30 years of industry experience in roles spanning nearly all operations and business functions at Pioneer and its predecessor company.

“Rich is the right leader to build on the strong foundation that Scott has established. He embodies the Pioneer culture, and now is the right time to implement the robust succession plan we have put in place,” Board Chairman Ken Thompson said in a statement. “Scott has been a trailblazer in this industry, and he has guided Pioneer through multiple commodities and market cycles as well as recent macroeconomic challenges, including the pandemic.”

“The board is deeply grateful to Scott for his leadership over the years and respects his decision to retire in order to spend more time with his personal and philanthropic interests,” Thompson added.

Delivering on strategy and value for shareholders

In his role as president and COO, Dealy has been pivotal to securing Pioneer’s leading operational and financial position.

During his tenure, Pioneer said it built one of the strongest investment grade balance sheets in the industry, became the largest oil producer in the state of Texas, had five consecutive years of operational efficiency improvements and successfully integrated the acquisitions of Parsley Energy and Double Point Energy.

“Rich is a disciplined and focused leader,” Sheffield said in a statement. “His three-decade track record of operational and financial contributions, industry knowledge and inspiring leadership have prepared him to take the helm of Pioneer with a sure hand and a clear strategic vision.”

Dealy said he’s looking forward to working with Sheffield on the board.

“I’m honored to succeed Scott as CEO and look forward to working with him on the board,” Dealy said in a statement. “For over 30 years, Pioneer and its amazing people, along with this exciting and vitally important industry, have defined my professional life. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to lead our world-class company—delivering on the strategy that we’ve laid out, creating value for our shareholders, and continuing to nurture a culture that makes Pioneer one of the best and most rewarding places in our industry to work.”

Pioneer said that during the transition period, Dealy will continue to work closely with Sheffield on executing the company’s strategy.

Dealy was appointed president and COO in January 2021. Previously, he was executive vice president and CFO from November 2004 through December 2020.

He has held previous leadership positions throughout Pioneer during his more than 30-year tenure, including as a director of the general partner of Pioneer Southwest Energy Partners, a publicly traded Master Limited Partnership from 2007 to its acquisition in 2013.

Dealy is a member of the board of the American Exploration & Production Council and Compass Minerals International.

Potential acquisition target

His appointment comes at a pivotal time for the company.

Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. has held preliminary talks with Pioneer about a possible acquisition of the U.S. shale oil producer, the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Should the acquisition go through, it would be Exxon’s biggest acquisition since its 1999 takeover of Mobil Corp., The Dallas Morning News reported.

The Journal said that discussions between the two companies about a potential deal have been informal, adding that Exxon executives have discussed a potential tie-up with at least one other company.

Exxon and Pioneer declined to comment on that report.

The Journal reported that Exxon views Pioneer as a top target to put its “windfall profits to use,” adding that the talks may not lead to formal negotiations and Exxon may target another company.

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