The Tulsa Regional Chamber and other city leaders said they were surprised to hear about reports of six members resigning from the Williams board of directors.
“This was not expected at this point,” chamber president and CEO, Mike Neal said. “However, we see this as exceptionally good news.”
Reports say the board members offered their resignations after an attempt to oust President and CEO Alan Armstrong.
This comes after a judge ruled Energy Transfer Equity could back out of a proposed merger with Williams. Despite that ruling, Williams’ shareholders voted to keep the talks open before ETE eventually terminated the deal.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber and Mayor Dewey Bartlett are calling this shake up and the resignations reports good news for the Tulsa company.
Neal heard six Williams board members, including its chairman, stepped down after trying to oust Armstrong, but were unsuccessful.
"We didn't see that coming,” Neal said. “We knew there could potentially be a shake up to the board in the months to come, which we all were anticipating, but to be so quick today, I think totally surprised us all."
The merger deadline came and went after a Delaware judge allowed Dallas-based ETE to back out of the deal. Williams is appealing the judge's decision.
Tulsa Regional Chamber Chairman Jeff Dunn said the latest developments may help the company move on.
"It's another great day for Tulsa. This news, as Mike alluded to, will allow alignment with the executive leadership team at Williams, alignment with the board, and it will enable the Williams personnel, Williams leadership, to worry about executing Williams' strategy," Dunn said.
From the beginning, Tulsa's chamber and elected officials fought the merger, in an effort to save nearly 1,000 jobs. They didn't want to lose a company that's spent a century investing in Tulsa.
Bartlett said, "They fought for this city that they [Williams] loved. And they knew, that at some point in the future, downtown would come back - well hello downtown. Hello coming back. Now hello Williams, staying home again."
The group also wanted to thank the numerous elected officials, including Governor Mary Fallin, who went with them on lobbying trips to keep Williams in Tulsa.