By Macson Obojemuinmoin
Basil Omiyi, former Shell Nigeria CEO, likely to step in as Interim Chairman …
Seplat Energy, Africa’s largest homegrown E&P independent, has appointed three new directors to its board.
Two of these incoming directors will be replacing the two men who founded the company in 2009 and took it to list on the London Stock Exchange five years later.
Kazeem Raimi will step in as a Non-Executive Director, replacing Austin Avuru, the company’s founding Managing Director, who represented the interest of Platform Petroleum on the board. Ernest Ebi arrives as a Non-Executive Director, replacing A.B.C.Orjiako, Chairman of the board who leaves his position at the end of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 18, 2022.
The third new appointee, Bashirat Odunewu (Mrs.) is an independent Non-Executive Director. She will be taking the board seat to be vacated by Charles Okeahalam at the AGM. Mr. Okeahalam, a professor of Econometrics and co-founder of the investment firm AGH Capital, has been on the board as far back as 2013.
Which means, effectively, that Messrs Orjiako and Avuru, who came together as heads of Shebah Petroleum and Platform Petroleum respectively in 2009 and created the company as a Special Purpose Vehicle to purchase Shell &Co’s equity in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs 4, 38 & 41), will have been out of the board by the morning of May 19, 2022.
None of the two would be on the board to be personally part of the finalization of the company’s most transformational deal: the purchase of Mobil Producing Nigeria (2021 net output: 99,000BOEPD), with vast upside (Fuller details of this story in the April 2022 edition of the monthly Africa Oil+Gas Report).
SEPLAT ENERGY HAS CONDUCTED A WIDE SEARCH FOR A CHAIRMAN, outside the current board. For now, however, the company is likely to settle for one of the members: Basil Omiyi, former CEO, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and former Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria (SCIN), as interim Chair. Omiyi is an important historic figure in the Nigerian oil industry. His appointment, exactly twenty years ago, as the first Nigerian CEO of SPDC (and the first Nigerian CEO of any upstream oil major operating in the country), was a high-water mark in the currents of Nigerian local capacity development in the sector.
So, who are the new appointees to the Seplat Energy Board?
Bashirat Odunewu (Independent Non- Executive Director) is a Banking and financial expert with about 30 years’ experience in the Finance and Banking Industry. Up till June 2021, she served as C-Suite executive, corporate banking (Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure), at First Bank Nigeria Ltd, prior to which she was the line executive for their international banking group where she supervised CEOs of the subsidiaries of First Bank in six African countries as well as the Bank’s Representative office in China and served as a board member for several of them.
She is an Independent NED on the Board of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc (an NGX quoted company) and is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry where she serves as the Treasurer.
Kazeem Raimi (Non-Executive Director) is a nominee of Platform Petroleum Limited
replacing Mr. Austin Avuru who stepped down from the Board of Seplat Energy on 1st March 2022. Mr. Raimi is presently the Executive Director, Commercial for Platform Petroleum Limited. Previously with Seplat Energy as General Manager, Commercial, Mr. Raimi was charged with the responsibility for driving commercial, economics, valuation, planning and treasury activities across the entire organisation. He also served previously as Manager, Corporate Planning and Economics at Seplat Energy.
Mr. Raimi has extensive experience in project economics and risk analysis having been Lead Petroleum Economics and Commercial Advisor at Addax Petroleum Nigeria where he also served in different capacities.
Ernest Ebi (Non-Executive Director) is a nominee of Shebah Petroleum Development Company Limited (BVI) replacing Dr. A.B.C Orjiako who will step down from the Board of Seplat Energy on 18th May 2022 after the Annual General Meeting. Mr. Ebi is an executive whose vast experience in the banking and finance industry spans over four (4) decades. From June 1999 to June 2009, he was appointed as a Deputy Governor at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria’s apex bank, where he covered policy and corporate services portfolios. Prior to this, Mr. Ebi held several executive positions in the banking industry in Nigeria and the United States of America. He was the Deputy Managing Director in Diamond Bank Ltd where he led the bank’s financial services marketing strategy & initiatives for new business development amongst others. In 1995, he was appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation as the Managing Director & CEO of New Nigerian Bank Plc.