Whiting Petroleum Corp. shelled out nearly $14.6 million in cash bonuses to members of its executive leadership team just days before entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company disclosed in an April 1 SEC filing.
Whiting announced it would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the morning of April 1, becoming the first major shale oil and gas producer to do so during the most recent price downturn.
"Given the severe downturn in oil and gas prices driven by uncertainty around the duration of the Saudi/Russia oil price war and the COVID-19 pandemic, the company's board of directors came to the conclusion that the principal terms of the financial restructuring negotiated with our creditors provides the best path forward for the company," CEO Bradley Holly said.
The move had been planned in advance but did not stop the company from issuing significant bonuses to several members of its leadership March 26. According to Whiting's SEC filing, Holly was awarded nearly $6.4 million, more than twice what any other executive received.
"The total amounts payable to our named executive officers under the revised program are: $6,397,750 for Bradley J. Holly, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, $2,200,000 for Correne S. Loeffler, Chief Financial Officer, $2,887,500 for Charles J. Rimer, Chief Operating Officer, $1,051,668 for Timothy M. Sulser, Chief Strategy Officer and $2,046,000 for Bruce R. DeBoer, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary," the company stated.