Denise McWatters

Delek US Holdings has hired as general counsel an executive with more than a decade of experience at one of the company’s peers.

Denise McWatters has joined Brentwood-based Delek about 18 months after she retired from HollyFrontier as GC, senior vice president, chief compliance officer and secretary. She had spent nearly a dozen years with the company after being the legal chief at construction conglomerate The Beck Group.

At Delek, McWatters fills the seat vacated last year by Regina Bynote Jones, who had joined the oil refiner and marketer in the spring of 2018 and is now chief legal officer at oil field services company Baker Hughes.

A tasty detail to go with the hiring of McWatters: She spent years at HollyFrontier working with and for George Damiris, who was recently nominated to the Delek board by investor Carl Icahn. Damiris joined HollyFrontier in 2007 as vice president of corporate development before overseeing its supply and marketing unit, rising to COO and then, in early 2016, president and CEO. Damiris retired a few months after McWatters stepped away from her roles in August 2019.

Damiris is one of three execs whom Icahn, whose rival CVR Energy controls nearly 15 percent of Delek, is proposing for the local company’s board in an effort to shake up its strategy. Delek shareholders will likely meet in May to vote on the board’s composition going forward.

Shares of Delek (Ticker: DK) were up about 2 percent to $21.81 Wednesday afternoon. They have risen nearly 50 percent in the past six months, putting a nice paper profit in CVR’s pocket: The company paid an average of about $13 for its holdings.

This post originally appeared in our partner publication, the Nashville Post

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