Canada-based contract drilling service company Major Drilling announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer and vice president for North American operations.

Denis Despres will serve in the new role of COO and vacates the vice president of North American operations position. Larry Pisto succeeds Despres in that role.

“For many years we have been following a disciplined strategy of growing our capacity in specialized drilling, of diversifying our activities within the scope of our expertise, and of keeping debt to minimum levels,” said Francis McGuire, president and CEO of Major Drilling Group International. “This strategy has served us well. Our diversification efforts have been particularly successful in North America and we see the opportunity to expand these services in a disciplined manner in many areas of our operations, while maintaining our strong balance sheet and our strong position in specialized drilling.

“In this new role of COO, Denis will focus on developing those opportunities as well as supervising our existing regional global operations, where he will work closely with our CFO, Denis Larocque.”

Despres came to Major Drilling in 2010 with 20 years of experience in the drilling industry. He has a bachelor of engineering from Lakehead University and a masters degree in business administration from Queens University.

“I am also pleased to promote Larry to the position of VP, North American operations,” McGuire said. “Larry has distinguished himself over the years as our general manager of U.S. operations, and will now have our Canadian operations added to his responsibilities.”

Pisto came to Major Drilling in the company’s 2005 acquisition of Dynatec Drilling’s U.S. operation. He has served since then as Major’s general manager of U.S. operations. He has 36 years in the drilling industry.

Major Drilling Group International, based in New Brunswick, Canada, serves clients worldwide with metals and minerals exploration drilling services. For more information, visit