Houston-based offshore service vessel operator Tidewater Inc. announced yesterday that Larry T. Rigdon has been elected chairman of the board, effective Oct. 28. Rigdon replaces Thomas R. Bates Jr., who recently resigned from the board.

Rigdon has been a member of the Tidewater board of directors since August 2017. He has extensive prior experience as an executive at Tidewater. Rigdon served as interim chief executive officer of Tidewater for five months ending in March 2018. He had previously joined the company in 1992 after the merger with Zapata Gulf Marine Corp. After successive roles of increasing responsibility, he left the company as executive vice president in 2002. He then founded and grew Rigdon Marine Corp., which owned 28 offshore service vessels, selling the company in June 2008 to GulfMark Offshore Inc., where he became a board member until 2010. Rigdon also currently serves as a director of Professional Rental Tools LLC.


Coinciding with the merger of Tidewater and GulfMark in 2018, the Tidewater board was expanded from seven to 10 members. The board believes a smaller board will not only be more cost effective, but will enable it to be more responsive and efficient as it advances the company’s strategic goals. Accordingly, the board will be reduced in size to seven members at the next annual meeting of stockholders.

Additionally, the size of the board has been reduced from 10 to eight members effective immediately. The immediate reduction in size is the result of the resignation of Bates and Steven L. Newman.

The seven directors that the Tidewater board intends to nominate for election at the 2020 annual meeting of stockholders are: Randee E. Day, Dick H. Fagerstal, Quintin V. Kneen, Louis A. Raspino, Rigdon, Robert P. Tamburino and Kenneth H. Traub.

“I am thrilled to be taking over the leadership of the Tidewater board at this important time in the company’s history," Rigdon said in a statement. "The board made an important decision recently in appointing Quintin V. Kneen as our president and chief executive officer, and he has our complete support. Quintin is already doing a fantastic job in leading Tidewater with improved capital discipline and accountability, more efficient operations and expanding strategic opportunities. With our streamlined and focused board and the strong management team led by Quintin, I am confident that Tidewater is well-positioned for long-term success.”

“Market conditions across all of our operating areas are showing signs of recovery," Kneen said. "Although the industry remains oversupplied, the potential to create long-term value through consolidation and disciplined capital management is clearer today than it has been in the past five years. We have been aggressively restructuring our shore base operations and our management structure over the past two months to improve the efficiency and scalability of our operations. Our strong balance sheet, combined with the successful rollout in October of our enhanced information system, positions Tidewater as the only market participant with a scalable global infrastructure capable of significant consolidation in the offshore support vessel industry.”