RICE ENERGY

Observer-Reporter

This 2013 Observer-Reporter file photo shows Derek, left, Danny and Toby Rice, owners of Rice Energy in Southpointe, relaxing in their office one afternoon before a meeting.

EQT Corp. is getting a triple serving of Rice.

Toby Z. Rice has prevailed in the proxy fight he launched in October as he, his brother Derek and the seven board candidates they nominated gained control of the oil and gas company in a shareholders vote Wednesday morning. The vote occurred during the firm’s annual meeting.

Five others were nominated to the 12-member board, including Danny Rice, CEO of the former Rice Energy, an oil and gas firm EQT purchased 20 months ago. EQT and the so-called Rice Team agreed on that slate of nominees.

A news release from the downtown Pittsburgh-based company, the largest oil and gas producer in the United States, said Wednesday morning that all 12 who were elected received more than 80 percent of the votes. More specific figures were expected later.

The new board, alphabetically, will consist of: Lydia Beebe, Dr. Philip Behrman, Lee Canaan, Janet Carrig, Dr. Kathryn Jackson, John McCartney, James McManus II, Anita Powers, Daniel Rice IV, Toby Rice, Stephen Thorington and Hallie Vanderhider.

The directors met later Wednesday, and were expected to name Toby Rice president and chief executive officer, succeeding Robert McNally.

Toby Rice said in a statement: “Now is the time to put this proxy contest behind us and come together as one team to transform EQT into a technology-enabled, sustainable energy producer. There is a lot of work to be done, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves.”

McNally, who was hired only last August, said in a statement that he thanked “employees across the organization for their outstanding work and dedication.” The board, in turn, thanked McNally for his service.

The Rices’ intentions became public in December, two months after EQT announced miserable third-quarter results. Results improved during the first quarter this year, but the Rice Team was boosted recently by support from Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy advisory firm, and D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund.

It has been an interesting 11 years in Southwestern Pennsylvania for the Rices. The South Boston brothers founded Rice Energy Inc. in 2008, located it in Southpointe, and processed their first lateral well in 2010. They nurtured their company into one that would go public in January 2014 with 145 employees, and eventually increase its payroll to about 600.

Rice Energy outgrew its offices in Southpointe and moved into a much larger building, in the Zenith Ridge project in Southpointe II, in early 2016. The company operated there until November 2017, when EQT bought it for $6.7 billion.

Until the sale, Danny Rice was CEO, Toby chief operating officer and Derek vice president of exploration.

EQT Corp. focuses its natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin, where it has thousands of shale wells in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. EQT has about 850 employees, 150 of whom work in the Southpointe offices where Rice operated. Some previously worked for Rice.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.