WaterBridge Resources LLC announced a leadership succession plan that will see CEO Stephen M. Johnson transitioning into a new role at the water midstream company he founded in late 2015.
In a May 7 company release, WaterBridge said CFO Steven Jones and COO Jason Long have been appointed to serve as co-CEOs of the Houston-based company. Both Jones and Long will retain their roles as CFO and COO, respectively.
Subsequently, Johnson will transition from day-to-day management into the newly created role of vice chairman. The leadership transition is set to take effect on May 18.
In a 2019 interview with Hart Energy, Johnson said he decided to form WaterBridge after recognizing the opportunity to create a pure-play water midstream company. His business strategy for WaterBridge was simple: replace water trucks by building a large footprint of water pipelines and disposal systems in a particular area.
“The genesis of WaterBridge was essentially taking the business that has been dominated by energy service companies and moms and pops and transforming it into a traditional midstream business,” he told Hart Energy. “We gather and process water instead of gathering and processing gas or crude.”
Johnson’s strategy eventually took WaterBridge to the Permian Basin with the acquisition of EnWater Solutions LLC in August 2017. The company also purchased assets in Oklahoma’s Arkoma Basin.
Long joined WaterBridge at the time of the acquisition of EnWater, which Long had founded and led the funding, construction and commercialization of produced water-gathering and disposal systems in the Southern Delaware Basin.
Meanwhile, Jones previously founded and served as CEO of Core Midstream LLC prior to joining WaterBridge in 2018, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Before that, he had co-founded and served as CFO of PennTex Midstream Partners LLC, where he led PennTex’s IPO.
In a statement commenting on their appointment as co-CEOs, Johnson said: “Since joining me at WaterBridge, Jason Long and Steve Jones have demonstrated highly capable leadership in a variety of increasingly important management roles. Together, with the hard work and support of our exceptional employees, we have firmly established ourselves as the largest pure-play water midstream company in the energy industry.”
Johnson also added he and the WaterBridge board are confident that now is the right time to transition the company’s leadership to the “next generation of talent.”
WaterBridge is backed by Five Point Energy LLC with an initial commitment of up to $200 million, which has since been increased. In May 2019, Five Point agreed to sell a 20% minority equity stake in the company to affiliates of GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, adding even more dry powder to WaterBridge’s arsenal.
In a statement, David Capobianco, CEO and Managing Partner of Five Point Energy and Chairman of WaterBridge, said: “Succession planning is a priority and key responsibility of the board, and we took a thorough and deliberate approach to identifying Jason and Steve as Steve Johnson’s successors. We know that Jason and Steve will maintain WaterBridge’s high standard of performance and further its position as the water midstream leader during this pivotal time in the oil and gas industry.”
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