One of Houlihan Lokey's most senior energy investment bankers is departing the boutique advisory firm to join an oil and gas producer, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Kirk Tholen, who ran Houlihan Lokey's Acquisitions and Divestitures (A&D) business, is taking a job at an Oklahoma-based energy company, two people familiar with the matter said.

Houlihan Lokey declined to comment.

Tholen started at Houlihan Lokey in 2015, having previously been head of A&D in the Americas for Credit Agricole. Throughout his career, he has held roles at financial firms, as well as numerous positions within energy companies, according to his profile on Houlihan Lokey's website.

The A&D unit within an energy investment bank focuses on the sales of acreage and smaller assets. Activity in the space in 2019 has been severely hamstrung by companies that are being forced by shareholders to prioritize cost cutting and developing existing assets, rather than buying new land.