Paragon Offshore Limited Announces Management Changes

  • Mr. James Swent III named as President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Mr. George Sandison becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Mr. William C. “Charlie” Yester to retire after more than 40 years of distinguished service
  • Paragon’s Senior Management Team appointed

HOUSTON, Aug. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Paragon Offshore Limited (“Paragon” or the “company”) announced today that Mr. James (“Jay”) Swent III, Paragon’s current Chairman of the Board of Directors, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer following a comprehensive executive search process conducted by Korn Ferry.  His long career includes more than a decade of experience in the offshore drilling industry including his most recent role as Executive Vice President at ENSCO plc.  Mr. Swent will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors, however, in keeping with best practices for corporate governance, Paragon will maintain separation between the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.  Effective immediately, current board member Mr. George Sandison will become Chairman.  Paragon’s board size will remain at six members.

“Mr. Swent’s selection is the result of an extensive search process centered on executives with experience in offshore drilling,” commented Mr. Sandison.  “His understanding of the global nature of our operations and our customers, combined with his business acumen developed through his years in a variety of other industries, will serve Paragon well in positioning the company for future success.”

“I’m excited by the opportunity Paragon represents and am looking forward to leading the company through these challenging times to fulfill our vision,” said Mr. Swent.  “Now that the company has successfully emerged from bankruptcy, we are uniquely positioned to deliver Safe, Reliable, and Efficient operations to ensure our customers are able to sustain a competitive cost structure in this lower-for-longer oil price environment.  We have much to do, but I have great confidence in the team and I believe there’s a bright future for Paragon.”

Mr. Swent assumes the role from Mr. Dean E. Taylor, who has served as Paragon’s Interim President and Chief Executive Officer since November 2017.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to have held this post,” said Mr. Taylor.  “Paragon is a great organization with wonderful people and it’s been a real blessing for me to have worked with everyone here.  I’m proud to have been associated with Paragon and wish Jay and the company the best as he takes the reins.”

Mr. Swent commented, “Dean has been a steady hand on the tiller, successfully guiding Paragon through the rough waters of a complex restructuring.  We very much appreciate all that he has done for the company and wish him all the best as he retires to pursue his other board work.” 

William C. (“Charlie”) Yester to Retire

After more than 40 years in the drilling industry, Mr. William C. “Charlie” Yester, Paragon’s Senior Vice President – Operations, has elected to retire as of September 1, 2017.  During Mr. Yester’s career with Paragon and its parent company, Noble Corporation, he saw the transition of the company from a land-based contract drilling company in the U.S. Lower 48 based in Oklahoma to a domestic offshore driller to an international provider of jackup and floating drilling rigs.  Mr. Yester served Noble as Vice President - Division Manager in Qatar for 15 years and was Vice President – Division Manager for Africa in Geneva before choosing to come to Paragon in August of 2014.  He also had the distinct honor of having a jackup rig named after him—the Noble Charlie Yester, now the Paragon M1161, which is currently operating in India. 

“Charlie did an outstanding job keeping Paragon’s operations running smoothly during our bankruptcy,” said Mr. Taylor.  “His efforts prevented our crews and shorebased personnel from becoming distracted by events beyond their control.  In the midst of such uncertainty, our performance might have suffered tremendously.  But under Charlie’s outstanding leadership, our safety performance as measured by TRIR dropped to a historic low of 0.15 and our operational downtime was less than 1%.  We’re all extremely grateful for his hard work, his many years of service, and his dedication, and we will all miss him.”

Paragon Names Management Team

In addition to naming Mr. Swent as President and Chief Executive Officer, Paragon made the following senior management appointments:

  • Mr. Anirudha (“Sunil”) Pangarkar has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  In this newly created role, Mr. Pangarkar is responsible for worldwide operations, engineering, supply chain, maintenance, and health, safety, and the environment (“HSE”).  Mr. Pangarkar previously served as Senior Vice President – HSE, Operations Services and Projects.
  • Mr. Lee M. Ahlstrom is appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  He has served in that role in an interim basis since November 2016.
  • Mr. Andrew W. Tietz will continue in his role as Senior Vice President – Marketing and Contracts. 
  • Mr. Todd D. Strickler will continue as Senior Vice President of Administration, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. 
  • Ms. Julie Ferro will continue in her role as Vice President – Human Capital Services, focused on managing and developing Paragon’s organization talent.

About Mr. James (“Jay”) Swent III

Mr. Swent brings to Paragon a wealth of experience across a wide variety of industries including 12 years in offshore drilling.  Mr. Swent served as Ensco plc’s Executive Vice President from 2012 to 2015, and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President from 2003 to 2015.  Additionally, he held the position of Chief Executive Officer at American Pad & Paper from 1998 to 2000.  Mr. Swent began his career as a financial analyst at Memorex Corp, assuming various roles with increasing responsibility until he was in charge of the entire global financial organization.

In addition to his role at Paragon, Mr. Swent currently serves on the board of Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc.  Previously, he served as Co-Chairman of American Pad & Paper Co., CEO of Cyrix Corp, and as a Director of Rodime PLC.

Mr. Swent holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from the University of California, Berkeley.

About Paragon Offshore Limited

Paragon is a leading provider of standard specification offshore drilling services.  Paragon’s current fleet includes 32 jackups, including two high specification heavy duty/harsh environment jackups, four drillships, and one semisubmersible.  Paragon’s primary business is contracting its rigs, related equipment and work crews to conduct oil and gas drilling and workover operations for its exploration and production customers on a dayrate basis around the world. Paragon’s principal executive offices are located in Houston, Texas.  Paragon is a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands with registered number MC-323580, and registered office at c/o Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands.  Additional information is available at


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Lee M. Ahlstrom
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