Joe B. Foster, the founder and former chairman, president and CEO of Newfield Exploration Co., has passed away, Ovintiv Inc. said in an internal email sent to employees on May 11.

Joe B. Foster
Joe B. Foster

According to the email seen by Hart Energy, Foster, 86, died May 9 at his home in Houston from an apparent heart attack. His death was not COVID-19-related.

Ovintiv acquired Newfield in an all-stock transaction that closed early last year valued at about $7.7 billion.

When he started Newfield in 1989, Foster had a team of 26 employees and $9 million of equity capital, provided by himself, employees, a group of Houston investors and the University of Texas Endowment funds. By the time he retired from Newfield in 2000, he had built the company into a thriving multibillion-dollar business.

Prior to Newfield, Foster was the chairman of Tenneco Oil Co. and executive vice president and director of its parent, Tenneco Inc., where he spent 31 years of a highly successful career.

“Joe not only shaped the culture at the two companies he led, but the careers of more than just a few talented, hardworking industry professionals,” Ovintiv said.

The company added that services will be for immediate family only. A celebration of Foster’s life may be held at a later date.