It told the market today that Thick, a non-executive director at the company, would assume Willis' responsibilities, who is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Willis will not be backing away from the company entirely. He will remain as a director and will continue to have a hand in strategic matters.
The board has pointed to Thick's time as chief executive at Coogee Chemicals as evidence of understanding the WA gas market.
NSE shareholders have been somewhat confused by the lack of upside being created on the market from its promising exploration program in the Canning Basin. Thick's appointment has been made with business development in mind.
"Through his previous experience as CEO of Coogee Chemicals he is very well placed to lead and manage New Standard through its next phase of operations and growth, as exploration activities emerge across all three of our projects," chairman Arthur Dixon said.
"Phil is a highly qualified and experienced CEO, has a proven track record of developing and managing growth businesses, and has a unique understanding of the Western Australian gas markets and energy space."
Thick has also had a broader 20-year career, with a stint with Shell in various positions.
Thick will inherit a company that has recently welcomed the farm-in of PetroChina into its Canning Basin acreage by way of a deal with ConocoPhillips.
The Chinese major will be taking a 29% in the Goldwyer project from ConcoPhillips, with the multi-part deal including a cash component that valued the project at about $US100 million ($A97.6 million).
"The inclusion of the Goldwyer project in such a large international transaction is evidence of the project's prominence on the international oil and gas landscape due to its size and prospectivity," New Standard managing director Sam Willis told the market at the time.
While a base salary for Thick has not yet been disclosed to the market, New Standard said he would receive 2 million unlisted options with an exercise price of 40c for half, and 50c for the remainder.
Thick will be able to exercise the options within three years of the start of his employment.
He will officially step behind the desk on April 2.