Oil wildcatter Harold Hamm to step aside at company he founded 52 years ago

Billionaire wildcatter Harold Hamm is stepping down as chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc. and will become executive chairman of the shale-oil producer he founded over five decades ago.

Board member William Berry will take over as CEO at the start of next year, according to a statement released Wednesday. Jack Stark, currently president of Continental, will become chief operating officer.

Hamm, who famously wrote his ex-wife a check for almost $1 billion to settle their divorce, has been CEO of Continental since he founded it in 1967. The bulk of Hamm’s fortune is tied to Continental’s stock: He held 77% of the company’s shares as of June and has a net worth of $9.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Hamm, 74, said in a video posted online. “I love this business, I love this company.”