NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Penn West Petroleum (PWE) were rising 5.72% to $1.94 on heavy trading volume Wednesday afternoon as the company said David French would be its new CEO effective October 24.

French will succeed CEO Dave Roberts, who has been in the role since June 2013.

Most recently, French was the CEO of oil and gas company Bankers Petroleum.

In May, beleaguered Penn West said it may default on its financial covenants at the end of the second quarter.

But in June, the Canadian oil and natural gas producer said it was in compliance with its financial covenants, Reuters noted.

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Additionally, oil prices were gaining this afternoon. Crude oil (WTI) was recently up 2.12% to $49.72 per barrel and Brent crude was advancing 1.93% to $51.85 per barrel.

More than 3.53 million of the company's shares changed hands so far today compared to its average volume of 2.61 million shares per day.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Sell" rating with a score of D- on the stock.

The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PWE

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