In response to ABiz’s inquiries last week into Mark Knight’s dismissal from Knight Oil Tools and Earl Blackwell’s subsequent elevation to his former post as president and CEO, the local oilfield services company issued a press release Friday, Jan. 16 (it was dated Thursday), a day after ABiz went to press. As ABiz reports in its story, which published Tuesday, Jan. 20, the press release confirms that Blackwell is now the top exec and Mark Knight remains chairman of the board.
The press release does not address ABiz’s questions about the management shakeup, which sources say may have affected more than just Mark Knight’s position. The eldest of Knight Oil Tools founders Eddy and Ann Knight’s three children, Mark Knight, who is in his mid- to late-50s, also did not respond to an emailed inquiry about being ousted from the family-owned company, headquartered at 2727 SE Evangeline Thruway. His son Nicholas is still listed on the company website as vice president of operations for Knight Oil Tools U.S.A. The site was updated some time in December to remove Mark Knight and replace him with Blackwell, but company officials did not respond to a question about the status of Nicholas Knight’s position.
Eddy Knight died in 2002, and Mark was named president in 2003. In 2012 CEO was added to his title.
The press release attempts to put a positive spin on the reshuffling, with Mark Knight quoted as saying he is “excited that Earl has agreed to lead the company’s management team, so that I can focus on strategic initiatives.”
Blackwell, who most recently worked for Mike Moreno’s bankrupt Green Field Energy Services and before that was with the local private equity firm Moody, Moreno and Rucks, has deep roots in the Acadiana community. He earned a degree in business administration from UL Lafayette (then USL) and was a CPA from 1968 to 1981, according to the press release. He also at one time was president and chief operating officer for Toby Warren’s The Flagg Group, which was behind such developments as Le Triomphe, The Settlement, Oak Trace, Myrtle Square, Points of View, Flagg on the Green and Brandywine.
Read more about what sources close to the shakeup say precipitated it in the January-February issue of ABiz here. ABiz will continue to follow this story.
Below is the press release: