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Halliburton chief adds chairman role to his title

January 3, 2019

Halliburton Chief Executive Jeff Miller officially added the title of chairman at North America’s top fracking company as the industry heads into an uncertain year with lower oil prices.

The Dallas native strengthened his position at the top of the Houston-based oil field services provider after the executive chairman and former CEO, Dave Lesar, retired at the end of 2018. The Halliburton board opted to keep the CEO and chair positions together — as was the case under Lesar — rather than appoint an independent chairperson.

Halliburton will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, but the timing also coincides with the company’s stock plunging almost 50 percent in the past 12 months, driven largely by a 40 percent oil price decline in the last three months.

Halliburton is the world’s second-largest oil field services company by market capitalization after industry leader Schlumberger, and Halliburton’s specialty of late has been hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in onshore shale fields, especially West Texas’ booming Permian Basin. Despite the lower oil prices and fears of slowing activity, Halliburton still employs about 60,000 people worldwide.

Miller took over as Halliburton’s CEO about 18 months ago, but Lesar maintained the executive chairman position through 2018 as part of the leadership transition process. Lesar had led Halliburton since 2000, taking the reins after then-CEO Dick Cheney left to become the nation’s vice president.

Erle Halliburton founded the company in 1919 in Duncan, Okla., as a small oil well cementing business. Although it long had a sizable Houston presence, Halliburton formally moved its headquarters to Houston in 2002.

“I appreciate the confidence that the board has placed in me,” Miller said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “Halliburton has a 100-year legacy of delivering industry leading returns and superior customer service, and I am honored to lead our company as we continue that tradition.”

Despite the industry’s recent stock woes, Halliburton still holds a Wall Street value of nearly $24 billion, just above the almost $22 billion of rival Baker Hughes, a GE company. Schlumberger is worth more than $50 billion.

Banking executive Robert Malone will continue to serve as Halliburton’s lead independent board director. That means Malone is the liaison between Miller and the other independent board members. Malone approves board agendas and leads the annual CEO evaluation process.

jordan.blum@chron.com

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