Sandridge - Case Study - Saxum



SandRidge Energy, Inc. is an oil and natural gas company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with its principal focus on exploration and production. SandRidge and its subsidiaries also own and operate gas gathering and processing facilities and conduct marketing operations. In addition, Lariat Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SandRidge, owns and operates a drilling rig and related oil field services business. SandRidge focuses its exploration and production activities in the Mid-Continent, Gulf of Mexico, West Texas and Gulf Coast regions. SandRidge’s internet address is

Saxum has assisted SandRidge Energy since 2011 with strategic communications, social media strategy and earned media outreach.

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In June 2013, following shareholder advocacy for a change in company management, SandRidge announced that its founder and CEO, Tom Ward, would be leaving the company, and the board of directors had selected former SandRidge CFO James Bennett to serve as the new CEO. Saxum, which served as strategic communications consultant prior to and throughout the transition, faced the challenge of successfully communicating the change in leadership to key audiences. The communications goals included positioning the new CEO as a strong leader for the company, communicating the priority areas of focus for the company moving forward and achieving media results that focused on the new CEO rather than the outgoing CEO.


As shareholder dissent grew during the first half of 2013, Saxum began a proactive planning process with SandRidge Energy in anticipation of a change in leadership. Recognizing that communications with all stakeholders would play a critical role in successfully announcing and transitioning the leadership, Saxum worked closely with the incoming CEO, the Chairman of the Board and other members of senior leadership to develop strategic messaging for all audiences. Saxum provided extensive key message training to the new CEO and others who would be communicating the change to ensure consistent, accurate information was provided to all audiences.

In addition to messaging, the strategic planning included identifying all target audiences, developing plans to reach each audience, and developing appropriate communications. Audiences included employees, shareholders, community leaders and elected officials, partners, media and the general public. Saxum also created a long-term positioning strategy for new leadership that involved one-on-one media interviews, community involvement and outreach to key elected officials. Saxum developed Q&As to assist the new leadership with communicating the transition. Saxum also incorporated a social media strategy to keep followers informed of the changes. Additionally, Saxum developed a customized training program to assist SandRidge leadership during their first analyst day meeting following the transition. The new SandRidge didn’t want to take any chances of being mistaken for the old. Saxum helped prepare the team, which consisted of seasoned executive presenters and up-and-coming management leaders, to embody and effectively communicate verbally and nonverbally that the new SandRidge had the right leaders, the right strategy and the right skills for the company to reach new levels of success. Using a team approach, Saxum executed the transition communications plan, resulting in an efficient, effective announcement to key audiences.


The strategic communications plan and messaging achieved the communications goals, with strong positioning for the new CEO, clearly communicated priorities for the company and a majority of the media coverage focused on the new CEO rather than the outgoing CEO.

SandRidge’s senior leadership team concluded that the analyst day presentations were highly effective, resulting in retention of the company’s key messages by important stakeholders and a clear communication of the potential of the new SandRidge.

The leadership transition announcement garnered significant attention from traditional and social media on national, local and industry levels. Employees were informed in a timely manner and provided positive feedback regarding the messaging and communications by the CEO.

Saxum monitored the online conversation focused largely on the new CEO and his plans for the future of the company. The announcement resulted in more than 1.1 million impressions on Twitter alone. Saxum’s traditional media outreach included a news release, but also one-on-one interviews with the new CEO and The Wall Street Journal and The Oklahoman. The announcement resulted in coverage from news outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg, Thompson Reuters, BusinessWeek, Oil and Gas Journal and E&P. The media coverage had a reach of approximately 13.5 million.


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