Upstream independent Berry Corp. named president and CEO Trem Smith executive chairman effective Jan. 1 as part of the company’s executive succession plans for the new year, the company announced Nov. 29. 

Current COO Fernando Araujo will now become CEO, while current general counsel and corporate secretary Danielle Hunter will now be president with the responsibility for the legal, finance, human resources, and health, safety and environmental functions.

Araujo will be leading as CEO with more than 30 years of experience working in leadership roles with reputable industry companies like Shell, Apache and Repsol.

Simultaneously, chief accounting officer Mike Helm will succeed Cary Baetz as both the CAO and the CFO. Baetz will continue on Berry’s board and as a special advisor to aid in the transition period until March. 

These promotions take place as Berry’s agenda advances to optimize assets and expand shareholder return. The company plans to continue building on its value-creating shareholder return model, a cash flow generating hedge book and oil producing assets to deliver cash flow results, said Smith.  

“The board and I are confident this is the team to lead Berry’s future success by continuing to strengthen our operations while reducing overall expenses to deliver top-tier returns of capital to shareholders,” said Smith in the company announcement.