Acadiana Business

Management shakeup at Moreno Group?

by Leslie Turk

[Update: Mike Moreno says there has been no management shakeup at the company, that he is living in Dallas temporarily and that his River Ranch mansion is not for sale.]

[Update: Mike Moreno called ABiz this afternoon to say that he is living in Dallas temporarily to develop a new business, raising $300 million and starting a fracking company referenced in the story below, and will return to Lafayette full-time in May. He says he is still running Moreno Group as chairman and CEO and that there has been no change in top management since he named Emile Dumesnil president in early 2011. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he says. Riverstone spokesman Jim David also returned ABiz's call after this story was published and acknowledged that he had seen it: "Riverstone has no comment" is all the spokesman for the entity that owns 50 percent of Moreno Group had to say about the story. Dumesnil, who was left specific email and voice message questions referencing speculation there had been a change in management, still has not responded.]

Sources close to Moreno Group say Mike Moreno has relocated from Lafayette to Dallas, put his luxury River Ranch mansion on the sale block, and is no longer involved in the day-to-day management of the local energy behemoth. Moreno Group, headquartered in Lafayette, ranked No. 1 on ABiz's list of Acadiana's Top 50 Privately Held Companies, reporting $616 million in 2010 revenues.

For the profile that accompanied this year's Top 50 issue, ABiz interviewed Moreno Group President Emile Dumesnil, son of longtime Lafayette banker Red Dumensnil. "[Last year] was a great year for us," Emile told ABiz. "Our revenue was steady from 2009 to 2010, but our earnings reached the highest point in the history of the company last year."

A former banker for Hibernia in New Orleans, Dumesnil told ABiz he has been on Moreno's board of directors since 2001 and worked as a consultant at the company for a number of years. At some point he assumed chief financial officer duties (a company newsletter indicates), and in early 2011 Mike Moreno elevated him to president. Sources say it is Dumesnil who is now running the company.

Always the risk-taker, Moreno, who is in his early 40s, is in the process of developing a new business in Dallas, sources tell ABiz. He still owns approximately 50 percent of Moreno Group.

Dumesnil did not respond to email and phone messages about the change in management structure, and a representative of Riverstone Holdings LLC, Jim David, did not return a call before press time. Global private equity firm Carlyle Group/Riverstone Holdings owns the other half of Moreno Group.