Transocean CEO steps down as company slashes dividend by 80%

Transocean CEO steps down as company slashes dividends by 80%

In more fallout from slumping oil prices, the chief executive of Transocean, a company associated with the Deepwater Horizon explosion, is stepping down, the firm announced Monday.

Steven Newman took the helm of the company in March 2010, a month before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill. The company’s share prices have fallen by about 75% in the last five years.

Newman has decided to step down from Transocean's board of directors as well, the company said in a statement. Ian Strachan, chairman of the board for Transocean, has been tapped as interim chief executive.

Transocean also announced Monday that it was slashing its dividend by 80% for 2015, to 60 cents per share from $3 previously.

Companies across the energy industry have felt the pain of falling oil prices, cutting tens of thousands of jobs as a result. According to analyst firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 40% of more than 53,000 job cuts reported by U.S.-based firms in January were directly related to falling oil prices.

According to the firm, the energy industry announced 42% more job cuts in January alone than it did in all of 2014.

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig was owned by Transocean but leased and operated by BP when it exploded, killing 11 men and spawning the worst environmental disaster in American history. 

A federal commission investigating the incident later found that BP, Halliburton, which had  contracted to do cement work on the well, and Transocean had tried to cut corners on the project, contributing to the disaster. Transocean agreed to pay $1 billion to settle civil charges and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence.

Times staff writer Tiffany Hsu contributed to this report.

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