Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: UPL) said Jan. 30 that its chairman and CEO Michael Watford will be retiring from his role at the company, effective February 28, 2018.

Brad Johnson, senior vice president of operations, will become interim CEO on that date, which is the date on which the company will reveal its fourth-quarter 2017 earnings results.

“The company has tremendous assets and a talented team of people, and I am confident that Brad has the expertise and experience to guide the company to new heights and enable it to fulfill its enormous potential,” Watford said.

Ultra Petroleum also said that it will add two new directors to its board under a cooperation agreement with its largest shareholder, Fir Tree Partners, which owns an approximate 20% stake in the company.

Evan Lederman, partner at Fir Tree, will join the Ultra Petroleum board of directors. In addition, a new independent director selected by a process agreed between Fir Tree and the company will also be added to the board. Current directors, Dr. W. Charles Helton and Roger A. Brown, have notified the company that they will resign as of February 28, 2018, at which time the two new directors and Johnson, in his capacity as interim CEO, will join the seven-person board.

“Fir Tree continues to view Ultra Petroleum as the most attractive natural gas company in the U.S., with significant resource growth potential, high cash flow margins and extremely low transport costs,” Lederman said. “We are very excited to continue to work hand in hand with the Board and with Brad for the benefit of all shareholders.”

Johnson joined Ultra Petroleum in 2008 as director, reservoir engineering and planning. In 2011, he was named vice president, reservoir engineering and development and concurrently promoted as an officer of the company.

Since April 2014, Johnson has served directly under Watford as senior vice president, operations, where he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations. Johnson has over 23 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Ultra, Johnson was employed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) for 13 years where he served in various engineering and leadership roles.

Details of the cooperation agreement with Fir Tree Partners will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.