Ex-BP Boss Browne Plots Stock Market Return
The former boss of BP, Lord Browne, is plotting a return to the London stock market six years after he left the British oil giant, Sky News can exclusively reveal.
The cross-bench Peer is to take a boardroom seat at a new listed energy vehicle that is being put together by Riverstone Holdings, the private equity firm where he is a partner.
Called Riverstone Energy, the new company is aiming to raise at least £500m and is expected to list on the stock market later this year.
It will invest in companies across the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors that mirror deals struck by the Riverstone private equity firm, which completed a $7.7bn (£5bn) fundraising in June.
The appointment of Lord Browne to the board of Riverstone Energy will mark the latest stage of a comeback for the former BP chief, who has taken on a string of prominent roles since 2007.
In the private sector, he recently became an adviser to Mikhail Fridman, one of the oligarchs with whom BP went into partnership while Lord Browne ran the company.
He chairs Cuadrilla Resources, the privately-owned fracking company which is facing opposition to its efforts to extract gas in parts of the UK.
He also oversaw the recent purchase by Riverstone of oil and gas fields off the southern coast of the US, where his successor at BP, Tony Hayward, was plunged into crisis during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Lord Browne is the Government's lead non-executive director, a post that has involved attempting to inject private sector expertise into Whitehall departments and which he was recently persuaded to continue in after indicating that he was likely to step down.
His other roles have included advising the Coalition on higher education, while he is currently chairman of the board of trustees of the Tate, chairman of the trustees of the Queen Elizabeth II Prize for Engineering, and chairman of the international advisory board of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.
Lord Browne has been close to returning to London-listed companies in the past, holding detailed talks about becoming chairman of both Glencore, the commodities trading group, and National Grid.
The new Riverstone Energy vehicle will be chaired by Sir Robert Wilson, the former chairman of BG Group, according to sources close to the situation.
The listing of a so-called permanent capital vehicle in London will provide Riverstone with a potentially open-ended supply of funding to conclude deals as investors pour money into opportunities triggered by the US shale boom.
Among the new company's other directors is expected to be Louis Bacon, one of the world's wealthiest hedge fund managers, whose Moore Capital firm is likely to be among the cornerstone investors in the company.
The board is understood to contain a number of directors with links to Goldman Sachs, which alongside JP Morgan is preparing the Riverstone Energy flotation.
They are said to include Richard Hayden, a former Goldman partner who chairs the business lending organisation Haymarket Financial, and David Leuschen, another alumnus of the Wall Street bank who went on to found Riverstone.
The former chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum, James Hackett, and Tidu Maini, the chairman of Qatar Science and Technology Park and a former director of Schlumberger, are also joining the Riverstone Energy board, raising the prospect of Qatari funds becoming a significant investor.
A Riverstone spokesman declined to comment while Lord Browne could not be reached for comment.