Encana Corp. has picked its new chief executive from outside the company, following a months-long search following the abrupt departure of its previous CEO.

The Calgary-based gas producer has appointed Doug Suttles, a 30-year veteran of the industry who most recently was chief operating officer at BP Exploration & Production.

The company had vetted more than 150 candidates for the job vacated in January by Randy Eresman, including several highly placed executives within Encana.

The company has scheduled a conference call to introduce Suttles later this morning.

Encana's acting CEO, Clayton Woitas, says Suttles was chosen for his strategic leadership capabilities, communications skills, and track record at organizations of a similar size.

Woitas has been designated as the future chair of Encana's board of directors.

Suttles will also join the board as a director, in addition to being Encana's president and chief executive.