Chad L. Stephens, an industry veteran who previously served on the executive team at Range Resources Corp., will lead Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. as CEO, the Oklahoma City-based company said in a Jan. 17 news release.

In August, Stephens had been appointed interim CEO of Panhandle as part of a leadership transition tied to a shift in strategy by the company to increase its focus on the mineral acquisition market. He had previously served as lead independent director since joining the Panhandle board in 2017.

Chad L. Stephens
Chad L. Stephens (Source: Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc.)

Commenting on the appointment, Panhandle’s current lead independent director, Mark T. Behrman, touted Stephens’ proven leadership and the operations expertise he has gained from his 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.

Stephens served as senior vice president of corporate development at Range Resources from 2002 until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2018. He had joined Range in 1990 as senior vice president of the southwest region.

While at Range, Stephens was responsible for the origination, valuation and acquisition or divestiture of over $6 billion of oil and gas producing properties, according to the Panhandle release.

Prior to working at Range, Stephens was with Duer Wagner & Co., an independent oil and gas producer, from 1988 to 1990. Earlier in his career, he had worked at Cities Service Co., HNG Oil Co. and as an independent oil operator in Midland, Texas.

“We are confident that our executives, employees and stockholders will benefit greatly from Chad’s skills and expertise as he successfully executes our business strategy,” Behrman said in a statement.

Panhandle, whose history dates back to 1926, originally operated as a co-op until 1979 when it became a public company through a merger with Panhandle Royalty Co. Today, the company owns roughly 258,000 net mineral acres across a dozen states in the U.S., including Texas—by far the largest oil-producing state and home to the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford shale play.

“My focus will be on furthering Panhandle’s strategic decision to focus on perpetual oil and natural gas mineral ownership and growth through mineral acquisitions and development of Panhandle’s significant inventory of mineral acreage to increase value to our stockholders,” Stephens said in a statement on Jan. 17.

Stephens’ appointment as CEO of Panhandle Oil and Gas was approved, effective Jan. 16.