BEACH Energy has appointed Matthew Kay to be its next chief executive, with the current Oil Search executive expected to take the role by 17 July this year.

Mr Kay, who currently serves as Oil Search’s executive general manager of strategy and commercial operations, will take over from Beach’s acting chief executive Neil Gibbins on that date or any earlier mutually agreed date.

In an announcement, Mr Kay said he was delighted to take on what he called a “tremendous opportunity.”

“I endorse Beach’s current strategy and look forward to the opportunities it presents for shareholders, even in this current oil price environment,” he said.

Beach chairman Glenn Davis said Mr Kay had an impressive depth of experience in strategy and planning and business improvement.

“We are excited he is joining Beach in the position of chief executive officer and look forward to his leadership driving execution of our corporate strategy, and particularly so after the successful completion of our merger with Drillsearch in the near future,” he said.

Mr Kay joined Oil Search in 2014 after 12 years at Woodside Petroleum, where he was vice president of corporate development, and was before that at Santos.

His broad experience at Woodside has included leading substantial merger and acquisition transactions, leading more than 80 production professionals, leadership roles in a number of operated LNG developments and extensive negotiations with joint venture partners, contractors, regulators and governments.

Mr Kay holds a bachelor of economics (commerce major) and a master of business administration both from the University of Adelaide. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.