Michael Reger’s latest stint as a top executive at Northern Oil and Gas has ended, though he will retain the title of chairman emeritus and serve the Minnetonka-based company as a consultant.
Reger co-founded Northern Oil in 2006 and was its CEO until he was fired by the company’s board in August 2016 after federal regulators were investigating him for possible securities violations.
After settling a suit against Northern Oil for wrongful termination, Reger was reinstalled as CEO in May 2018. Two months later, Reger was switched to president while the company’s then-president, Brandon Elliot, became CEO.
Northern Oil, whose stock has been trading near a 52-week low of late and closed at $1.62 a share Tuesday, invests in leases and drilling projects in North Dakota’s Williston Basin.
Reger exited the company to “pursue opportunities outside the Williston Basin,” Northern Oil said in a statement. His departure, effective July 31 and disclosed late last week, is “amicable,” the company said.
Reger will serve as an independent land acquisition consultant through March 15, 2020. In exchange for the release of certain claims by Reger — including a claim to further compensation under his existing employment agreement — Northern Oil will grant him full vesting of all time-based restricted shares outstanding on the date of his exit.
He will also be eligible to earn all performance-based restricted shares outstanding at his departure.
Reger was axed by Northern Oil — without severance — after federal regulators indicated they were pursuing him for a possible securities-law violation in connection with another oil-related company, Dakota Plains Holdings. Reger and Ryan Gilbertson, a Northern Oil co-founder and former Northern president, created Dakota Plains in 2008.
In October 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it had settled claims against Reger and that he had agreed to pay nearly $8 million. Reger consented to an SEC order that found he had received illicit payments and skirted public disclosure laws in connection with Dakota Plains’ initial public offering. He neither admitted nor denied culpability.
Gilbertson was convicted in federal court last year of multiple fraud offenses for a stock manipulation scheme connected to Dakota Plains’ IPO. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay $15 million in restitution.