Genel Energy Plc named oil veteran and COO Bill Higgs as its top executive, the oil and gas exploration and production company said April 8.

Higgs' appointment as CEO comes as the company, the largest holder of reserves and resources in Iraq's Kurdistan region, negotiates with the regional government to develop Bina Bawi Field after it wrote down $424 million on neighboring Miran oil and gas field in March.

The company swung to an operating loss of $254.6 million in the year ended Dec. 31, including the non-cash charge, from a profit of $298 million a year earlier.

Genel said outgoing CEO Murat Özgül will not stand for re-election at the general meeting next month and will be a special adviser to the board. Genel's market value more than halved under Özgül's leadership.

"Bill was recruited by the Board as a potential successor to Murat... he is the right person to continue growing the company and delivering on our strategy," Chairman Stephen Whyte said.

Higgs, who has spent 23 years at Chevron across a number of global roles, joined the firm as COO in 2017 and has led the expansion in oil operations at Genel's Kurdistan region.

Higgs was also the operations chief of Ophir Energy Plc and top executive of Mediterranean Oil and Gas Plc.