The unexpected retirement of Massey Energy (NYSE:MEE) CEO Don Blankenship is likely to speed up the process of selling the embattled coal company, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Blankenship announced late Friday his plans to step down on December 31 from the company that has been rocked by an April explosion at a West Virginia mine that killed 29 miners.
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His retirement makes a sale of Massey to rival Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) more likely because Blankenship was widely viewed as against such a move. There were questions about what role Blankenship would have at the company if it was sold and his attitude toward a sale was seen as a possible complication, the Journal reported.
Citing sources, the paper reported Blankenship’s retirement was partly aimed at sending a message to all shareholders on how seriously the company and board take the challenges facing Massey.
Shares of Massey ticked higher on the news, rising 1.69% to $51.27 ahead of Monday’s open.