CEO of embattled trading firm Noble Group resigns

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Embattled commodities trader Noble Group on Monday announced the resignation of its chief executive and the planned sale of its prized North America energy solutions business, capping months of difficulties for the company.

Noble Chief Executive Yusuf Alireza will step down “for family reasons,” the company said, without elaborating. Alireza will be replaced by two co-chief executives; William Randall, who is currently the company’s president and sits on the board, and Jeff Frase, who is head of the American energy solutions business.

In its statement, Noble  said it has started the sale process of its Noble America Energy Solutions business and will announce additional details soon. It didn’t mention a potential buyer or sale price. The company said the sale “is expected to generate both significant cash proceeds and profits to substantially enhance the balance sheet.”

Earlier this month, Noble’s credit rating was downgraded to junk from investment grade, by Fitch Ratings, the third of the three major ratings firms to make the change. Fitch cited a shorter term-debt profile as the reason, while the other two agencies cited liquidity concerns.

Noble has been under fire for more than a year from critics who have claimed irregular accounting at the commodities trader. Noble has denied the claims.

By Jake Maxwell Watts

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