Gutman moved to Oxford from The Williams Companies, an integrated natural gas company in Tulsa, Okla. Gutman will be succeeded by Bradley Harris, formerly senior vice president and CFO of Essar Resources, a subsidiary of Essar Global. Essar Global is owned by India’s Essar Group.
Oxford said in the filing that Gutman will assist with an “orderly transition of his responsibility to his successor,” and there is a possibility Gutman “may remain employed with the General Partner” after October 1 if he is needed and available to assist in the transition.
According to the filing, Harris will be paid an annual base salary of $300,000 by Oxford, whose headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
The management shift comes as Oxford continues to refocus its presence in its native Northern Appalachia while restructuring its operations in the Illinois Basin, namely in western Kentucky’s Muhlenberg County.
Oxford, which calls itself the largest producer of surface-mined coal in Ohio, said its core business performed well in the second quarter. The company lost $1.5 million, or $0.07/share, in the quarter, an improvement from a loss of $6.3 million, or $0.30/share, a year earlier.
“We are beginning to realize the benefits from our actions in this challenging environment to further enhance operations,” Charles Ungurean, Oxford’s president and CEO, told analysts during a quarterly conference call. “We are executing on our plan to optimize our Illinois Basin operations while increasing productivity within our core Northern Appalachian operations to improve our profitability. At the same time, we are pursuing the sale of excess Illinois Basin assets to strengthen our balance sheet.”
In western Kentucky, Oxford is adjusting the level of mining operations and varying the mines that are idled to best manage strip ratio impacts and other costs. Earlier this year, the company idled the Briar Hill mine and reduced operations at its Rose France mine, both in Muhlenberg County.
Ungurean added his company’s Northern App operations are performing well “and we are seeing increased demand from some of our customers in the region, and accordingly we expect continued growth in the second half of the year.”
Oxford’s coal production decreased by 13.5% in the second quarter of 2011 to 1.7 million tons from 2 million tons. Coal sales also declined by 14.2%. During the final months of 2012, Oxford plans to deliver on the sale of an additional 330,000 tons of Northern App coal it booked in the summer. The deal is with an existing customer who Ungurean did not identify.