Oaktree unveils new Excel team

Excel Maritime of Greece has revealed its new management team following the removal of former owner and CEO Gabriel “Villy” Panayotides this week.

Chief operating officer Kostas Koutsoubelis and chief financial officer Pavlos Kanellopoulos will run the company in a dual leadership structure, with no immediate plans to fill the vacant CEO seat.

TradeWinds revealed exclusively on Wednesday that the US private equity giant had removed Panayotides, following a bankruptcy restructuring that had seen his 55% stake slashed to 8.7%.

A statement from Excel directors confirmed the “departure” on Thursday.

It said Panayotides would cease to be CEO and a board member “effective immediately."

“He will have no further involvement with the company or its operations,” it added.

Regarding the new bosses, Excel said: “Both gentlemen enjoy the full support of the board and will report to an executive committee of the board consisting of Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo Gordon board members, which will handle the functional duties and responsibilities of the CEO.”

Former Restis group finance man Koutsoubelis will also take on the role of chief shipping officer (CSO).

Former CSO J Ioannides has left the company and he was thanked for his efforts by the board. Panayotides did not receive a similar tribute.

It has been a tough two years for Panayotides, who also lost control of Denmark’s Torm in 2012.

Excel told TradeWinds that Panayotides’ daughter Ismini is also no longer working for the company. She was previously business development officer.

The company said: “Excel represents an excellent dry bulk shipping platform with high quality personnel and operations and a strong balance sheet, which majority shareholders Oaktree and Angelo Gordon are committed to supporting.

“The change in leadership represents a positive step in the development of the company that positions it for future growth and success.”

Excel operates 36 bulkers.