Northern Oil and Gas’ interim CEO has resigned and one of the company’s top shareholders, Bahram Akradi, has been named chairman of the board.
Those changes were announced Thursday along with a financial restructuring that will, among other things, see Northern Oil’s ousted former CEO Michael Reger invest in a new equity offering.
Thomas Stoelk, Northern’s interim CEO and chief financial officer, resigned Jan. 31, and Brandon Elliott has been named interim president. Elliott will assume “principle executive officer functions,” according to a filing Thursday with federal securities regulators. He also will continue as executive vice president for corporate development and strategy.
Akradi, Northern Oil’s second largest investor, has moved up from being “lead independent director” to chairman.
Akradi, founder and CEO of Chanhassen-based Life Time fitness centers, has amassed a roughly 10 percent stake in Northern Oil since 2016.
Northern Oil’s stock soared 15 percent Thursday, closing at $2.29.
Minnetonka-based Northern Oil, which invests in oil leases and drilling projects in North Dakota, has been in turmoil in recent years. The oil bust that began in 2014 further deflated Northern’s already falling stock price. In August 2016, Northern Oil’s board fired Reger, one of the company’s founders and its CEO since 2007.
Reger was terminated — without severance — after federal regulators indicated they were pursuing an enforcement action against him for possibly violating securities law in connection with another company, Dakota Plains Holdings. Reger sued Northern Oil for wrongful termination within days of getting axed.
In October 2016, the SEC announced that it had settled claims against Reger and that he had agreed to pay nearly $8 million. Reger consented to an SEC order finding that he received illicit payments and skirted public disclosure laws in connection with Dakota Plains’ initial public stock offering in 2012. He neither admitted to nor denied the SEC’s findings.
Last September, Reger settled his wrongful termination lawsuit against Northern Oil, getting a cash payment of $750,000 and a stock award valued at just more than $3 million. He also was named “chairman emeritus” of Northern Oil.
Northern announced a financial rejiggering Thursday in which $497 million in existing unsecured senior notes will be exchanged for about $344 million in secured senior notes and around $155 million of Northern’s stock at $3 per share. Half of that equity will be raised in cash, and Reger, Akradi, TRT Holdings and other investors have already committed to purchase $40 million of new stock.
TRT, which is affiliated with billionaire Texas oilman Bob Rowling, is Northern Oil’s largest shareholder with a 19 percent stake.
TRT also holds much of the 8 percent unsecured notes that will be swapped out for equity and new secured notes, which will bear an 8.5 percent cash interest rate plus 1 percent in payment-in-kind. The new notes are secured with a second lien on substantially all of Northern Oil’s assets.
Northern also announced preliminary fourth-quarter results Thursday that showed daily oil production exceeding prior guidance. The company said expenses were lower than forecast in its prior guidance.
Also announced Thursday, Chad Allen, Northern Oil’s chief accounting officer, has been named as the company’s interim chief financial officer. He also will continue his current job.