Board of Directors

Michael Blaha - Executive ChairmanTo top

Michael Blaha is a petroleum engineer with 35+ years of oil and gas experience.

He is the co-founder and former Executive Chairman of Cove Energy plc. Prior to Cove, Mr Blaha held a number of senior roles in Royal Dutch Shell plc: Country Chairman in Algeria, Director of External Relations for E&P Africa, Vice-President E&P for Russia and Vice-President E&P for Iran. Earlier in his career, he worked at the Shell headquarters on developing business in China, Iran and Russia. He also held roles in the Philippines, Syria, Thailand, the UK and the Netherlands.

Michael Blaha has an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Amsterdam.

Mr Blaha co-founded Discover Exploration and joined the Board in October 2012.

John Craven - CEOTo top

John Craven is a petroleum geologist with 40+ years of oil and gas experience.

He is the co-founder and former CEO of Cove Energy plc. He is also the co-founder and former CEO of Petroceltic International plc, an exploration company with African and Mediterranean assets. Under his leadership, Petroceltic grew into a business with a diversified portfolio of exploration and appraisal projects in Italy, Algeria and Tunisia.

Mr Craven also held senior executive positions with Gulf Oil Corp. Dana Petroleum plc, Vanco Exploration and Tuscar Resources. He is also the former Chairman of Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd.

John Craven has an MBA from Queens University in Belfast and an MSc in Petroleum Geology from the Royal School of Mines in London.

Mr Craven co-founded Discover Exploration and joined the Board in October 2012.

Michael Nolan - CFOTo top

Michael Nolan is a chartered accountant and has worked in the natural resource industry for 20+ years.

He is the former Finance Director of Cove Energy plc. From 1999 to 2007, Mr Nolan was CEO of mining company Minmet plc. He has co-founded Fastnet Oil and Gas plc, Rathdowney Resources Ltd and Orogen Gold plc.

Michael Nolan is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Mr Nolan co-founded Discover Exploration and joined the Board in October 2012.

Marcel van Poecke - Non-Executive DirectorTo top

Marcel van Poecke is an industry veteran and a seasoned investor in the energy sector. He is a Managing Director and Head of Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), an investment fund sponsored by The Carlyle Group to invest in oil & gas exploration & production, midstream, oil field services and refining & marketing in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Mr van Poecke founded Petroplus from a management buyout in 1993 and successfully led its growth into the largest, independent oil refiner in Europe through several major acquisitions and divestments. After achieving a public listing on the Zürich stock exchange in November 2006, he exited Petroplus. The transaction was the highest multiple return investment for the Carlyle/Riverstone Energy Fund.

In 2007, he started and built over time AtlasInvest N.V., a private investment company with over US$1 billion of capital invested across the energy sector. AtlasInvest’s core investments are in the field of conventional oil and gas. AtlasInvest's investment portfolio is diverse in both scope and geography, encompassing all parts of the energy chain including exploration & production, midstream and downstream. In addition, complementary investments exist in a range of alternative energy companies. In 2009, AtlasInvest made its largest investment to date, Oranje-Nassau Energie B.V.

Marcel van Poecke is the Chairman of AtlasInvest and Oranje-Nassau Energie, and Vice-Chairman of Energy Intelligence, the leading provider of independent, objective insight, analysis, and data to the global energy industry. He is also a Non-Executive Director of VARO, HES International, Black Sea Oil & Gas, Mazarine Energy, Assala Energy and Neptune Energy.

Marcel van Poecke has an MBA from the William E. Simon School of Management, University of Rochester, and a degree in Agricultural Business Administration from the University of Wageningen.

Mr van Poecke joined the Board of Discover Exploration in November 2012.

Brooke B. Coburn - Non-Executive DirectorTo top

Brooke B. Coburn is a Managing Director, COO of Carlyle’s Energy and Natural Resources platform, and Co-Head of Carlyle Growth Partners and Carlyle Equity Opportunity Fund, which represent the U.S. middle market buyout and growth capital activities of The Carlyle Group.

Mr. Coburn serves on the investment committees of Carlyle's 3 principal Energy & Natural Resource funds, Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), Carlyle Power Partners (CPP) & the Carlyle Global Infrastructure (CGI) fund.  Additionally, he represents Carlyle on the investment committee of the firm's strategic partner for North American energy investing, NGP Energy Capital Management. Over the past 2 decades, Mr. Coburn has led or co-led with 25+ Carlyle investments across a broad range of sectors including cybersecurity, communications, energy and natural resources, media, software and technology-enabled services. Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Coburn was with Salomon Brothers, Inc. where he focused on M&A and capital raising assignments in the Media & Communications Group.

Mr. Coburn is a Non-Executive Director of ECi Software Solutions, PrimeSport, Coalfire and Catapult Learning.

Brooke B. Coburn has a B.A. from Princeton University with honors.

Mr Coburn joined the Board of Discover Exploration in December 2017.

Paddy Spink - Non-Executive DirectorTo top

Paddy Spink is a geologist with nearly 40+ years of oil and gas experience. He is a Senior Advisor to Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), an investment fund sponsored by The Carlyle Group, and to the Board of Directors of AtlasInvest N.V. and Oranje-Nassau Energie B.V.

Prior to this, he spent 20+ years with Perenco in various roles including business development, exploration and operations during a period where the company grew from less than 5,000 barrels per day to over 200,000 barrels per day, and became one of the largest private upstream companies. Activities extended through Europe, Africa, Middle East, Far East, Australia and North and South America, and included activities from exploration, through development, to optimisation of mature fields. Prior to Perenco, he was involved in building a portfolio of exploration and production assets in the UK for a large construction company, and earlier in various geological and petroleum engineering oilfield services roles with a predecessor of Baker-Hughes.

Mr Spink is a Non-Executive Director of Black Sea Oil & Gas SRL and Assala Energy. He is also a former Non-Executive Director of Ophir Energy plc and former Executive Committee member of Perenco.

Paddy Spink has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Lancaster.

Mr Spink joined the Board of Discover Exploration in November 2012.

Alexander Berger - Non-Executive DirectorTo top

Alexander Berger is a petroleum engineer with 20+ years of oil and gas experience. He is the CEO of Oranje-Nassau Energie B.V., the largest privately owned Dutch exploration and production operating company. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Cairn Energy plc.

Prior to this, he was the Managing Director of Dyas Exploration and Production B.V. and held several non-executive directorships at Capricorn Energy, Delta Hydrocarbons and Ithaca Energy. While working for Dyas, Mr Berger was instrumental in doubling the oil and gas portfolio through numerous successful North Sea and overseas acquisitions. After leading a consortium composed of Dyas, ONH B.V. and Sumitomo, which successfully acquired the energy interests of the Wendel Group's owned Oranje-Nassau Groep, he left Dyas in 2009 to become the new CEO of Oranje-Nassau Energie.

Mr Berger started his career with Royal Dutch Shell plc where he held various technical and commercial positions in the UK and the Netherlands.

Alexander Berger has an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management and an MSc in Petroleum Engineering from Delft University of Technology.

Mr Berger joined the Board of Discover Exploration in November 2012.