Baker Hughes chairman to retire; Craighead moves up

Baker Hughes Chairman Chad Deaton will retire this spring, the company said Monday. President and CEO Martin Craighead will assume the chairman’s role, in addition to his current duties.

Deaton, who joined the company in 2004, will retire at the company’s annual meeting April 25.

The announcement comes less than a week after the company announced its fourth-quarter earnings. Like other service companies, Baker Hughes reported that onshore drilling declines in North America had hurt earnings, and its fourth-quarter profits fell.

Even so, the returns were slightly better than analysts had predicted, driven by strong international performance.

John Riley, lead director of the Baker Hughes board, praised Deaton’s leadership.

“He has helped transform the company into one of the strongest companies in the marketplace as a leader in technology with a highly talented workforce,” Riley said in a statement.

Deaton joined the company as chairman, president and CEO. In January 2012, he assumed the role of executive chairman.

Craighead, who joined the company in 1986, was appointed chief operating officer in 2009 and president in 2010. He has served as president and CEO since January 2012.

Deaton described Craighead as an outstanding leader.

“I am confident that Martin’s knowledge of our business and the industry will greatly benefit our investors, customers and employees for many years to come,” he said in a statement.