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DALLAS -- This has been a good week for Alon USA Energy. Not only did the locally headquartered company post positive net income for the first quarter of 2011, it also made major executive changes at the top.
Effective Tuesday, May 3, Paul Eisman moved into the chief executive officer seat, in addition to his role as president. Also, Jeff Morris, who until this week held title to chief executive officer, became vice chairman of the board of directors. He will continue to serve as an executive of the company, Alon USA announced.
"I am very pleased this transition is taking place," Morris said. "It has been my personal priority to transition out of the role of CEO after 10 years. I appreciate the board of directors allowing me to make this transition while also allowing me to continue in a leadership role in the company. I have known Paul for many years and believe there is no one better to lead our company. He is a skilled and refined leader."
Morris will a take the reins as chief technology officer and has received the right to invest up to 20 percent in a Clean Energy Research Co. should Alon choose to form one. "I have long been interested in the coming transitions in transportation fuels and am excited to be able to spend more thoughtful time in this area," he added.
Morris has been with Alon USA since the beginning when it was formed in August 2000 after Alon Israel Co. Ltd. purchased the downstream operations of Atofina Petrochemicals Inc. (FINA). Prior to that time, Morris was a FINA executive with more than 35 years of experience, beginning his career there in 1974. He went on to serve as vice president of FINA's Southwestern Business Unit from 1995 to 1998 and vice president of the Southeastern Business Unit from 1998 to 2000.
As part of the transition, Eisman will be filling his shoes at chief executive officer. "I'm very excited to take on this new role at Alon USA, and also about the direction of the company," Eisman told CSNews Online. "We have tremendous opportunities in front of us, and a top notch group of people to take advantage of those opportunities.
In the company's announcement, Eisman also thanked the board, Morris and David Weissman, executive chairman of the board, adding that he is "pleased that Jeff will continue his involvement as vice chairman of the board. Since my arrival a year ago I have been continually impressed by the energy, abilities and achievements of our workforce."
He joined the company in March 2010 after serving as executive vice president of refining and marketing operations with Frontier Oil Corp. He began his career in petroleum refining as process engineer for Diamond Shamrock in 1979.
Alon USA is also making news for posting positive numbers in the first quarter. Net income for the time period was $13.1 million, compared to a net loss of $52.9 million for the same period in 2010. Excluding special items, the company recorded net income of $18.7 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared to net loss of $49.1 million for the same period last year, according to the company's earnings release.
"We are very pleased with our operations during the first quarter of 2011." Morris said. "Big Spring refinery throughput in March averaged 65,000 barrels per day and the operating margin for the quarter was $19.50 per barrel. Krotz Springs refinery throughput in March averaged 72,000 barrels per day and the refinery operating margin for the quarter was $5.06 per barrel. We continue with our initiatives to significantly reduce our crude costs to the Krotz Springs refinery. In addition, we have identified small capital expenditure projects that will result in the improvement of the profitability of the Krotz Springs refinery. As previously discussed, we restarted our California refineries at the end of March and remain on schedule to begin production from the Bakersfield hydrocracker unit in June 2011."