Mr Ralls, 59, most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of GlobalSantaFe Corp from June 2005 until its merger with Transocean in November 2007. Prior to that, Mr Ralls served as senior vice president and CFO of GlobalSantaFe. He joined Global Marine in 1997 as vice president and treasurer and was senior vice president, CFO and treasurer prior to the November 2001 merger that created GlobalSantaFe.
Mr Ralls received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a masters in business administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
“The next few years should be exciting, challenging times as we focus on the company’s continued growth and global expansion,” he said.
The company’s board of directors also named Jack Lentz as chairman of the board, effective 1 January 2009. Mr Lentz, 63, has held a position on Rowan’s board since 1990. He is an advisory director of Barclays Capital and was formerly managing director of Lehman Brothers.