Business & Practice

Halliburton Promotes Van Beckwith to Chief Legal Officer (1)

Jan. 4, 2021, 3:53 PM; Updated: Jan. 5, 2021, 12:18 AM

Oil services conglomerate Halliburton Co. has promoted its former general counsel Van Beckwith to executive vice president, secretary, and chief legal officer, as the company attempts to bounce back from a difficult year.

Beckwith replaces outgoing CLO Robb Voyles, who leaves the Houston-based company after seven years, including a rollercoaster 2020 in which the oil and gas industry faced challenges spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

“2020 proved that we have a great global team serving Halliburton and its customers. I am excited for the challenge and look forward to continuing the standard of excellence set for Halliburton’s global legal, communications, and government affairs teams,” said Beckwith in a statement provided to Bloomberg Law.

Beckwith was the firmwide chair of litigation at Baker Botts, where he worked for nearly three decades prior to joining Halliburton in January of last year.

Baker Botts has represented Halliburton in at least 20 cases since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law’s litigation analytics, including three property damage and torts to land cases filed in 2020 in which Halliburton is named as a defendant. Mir said the company does not typically comment on ongoing cases.

This is the second time Beckwith has succeeded Voyles—the outgoing CLO also held the role of Baker Botts’ litigation chair prior to joining Halliburton.

“Van brings an extensive legal background and broad strategic leadership to Halliburton. He is a strong addition to our executive leadership team and a great leader for our Company’s legal and communications groups,” said Halliburton’s chairman, president, and CEO Jeff Miller in a Jan 4. statement.

Many energy companies took major hits in 2020 as the coronavirus dramatically slowed demand and oil prices tumbled in the first half of the year.

Halliburton opted to cut costs by $1 billion in the first quarter after the bottom fell out of the market. In the first and second quarters of 2020, the company reported net losses of $1 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively.

Cost cutting across the company helped lower third quarter losses to $17 million, but not without affecting the labor force.

Halliburton executives said in an October presentation to investors that as of the third quarter of 2020 the company had eliminated half of its North American workforce in the preceding 12 months.

Last year, Halliburton laid off at least 842 employees within Texas alone, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The company has worked toward a leaner North American operation as of late. The company’s international revenue was nearly double that of North American revenue in the second and third quarters of 2020.

“The fundamentally different course we are charting is having a positive impact on our performance. Halliburton’s strong third quarter results demonstrate that we are effectively executing on our strategic priorities,” Miller said in the company’s third quarter earnings call.

(Updated with a comment from Beckwith in the third paragraph and company information throughout. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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