Barely one day after its annual general meeting to consider its 2021 audited financials and approve a dividend, Seplat Energy Plc, on Thursday announced the appointment of Basil Omiyi, an Independent Non-Executive Director, as chairman of its board of directors effective immediately.
He replaces the founding chairman, Dr. Bryant Orjiako, who retired after the AGM, according to a filing on the NGX portal by Mrs. Edith Onwuchekwa, Director and Legal/Company Secretary at Seplat Energy.
To feel the vacancy caused, the company also announced the appointment of Dr Charles Okeahalam as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director.
The choice of Omiyi, who has been a director of the company since March 2013, the board explained, followed “a thorough assessment of internal and external candidates and was approved after a unanimous vote by all Directors of Seplat Energy, in compliance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act in Nigeria (CAMA).”
The new chairman, who became Senior Independent Non-Executive Director on February 1, 2021, has been a member of Seplat Energy’s Remuneration, Nominations & Governance, Energy Transition, and Risk Management & HSSE committees.
Omiyi had a 40-year stint with Royal Dutch Shell, holding senior roles in Nigeria and Europe, culminating in his appointment as Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in 2004, in addition to being the Country Chairman of Shell Companies, Nigeria, until his retirement in 2009.
He has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, including: Chairman, Upstream Industry Group (Oil Producers Trade Section, Lagos Chambers of Commerce & Industry) from 2007-2010; Chairman of the Energy Sector of NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria, and Board Member NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria from 2005-2010; Chairman, of the Oil & Gas Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group from 2005-2010; and Board Member, Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2007-2010.
The new chairman who has also been the Independent Non-Executive Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, since 2015, was in 2011, was awarded the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger for pioneering leadership in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Dr. Charles Okeahalam, who joined the board of Seplat in March 2013 as an Independent Non-Executive Director, the statement added, is currently the Chairman of the company’s Finance Committee, and a member of the Energy Transition, Remuneration, and Nominations & Governance committees.
He has extensive corporate finance and capital markets expertise and in particular, detailed knowledge of African financial markets, economies and the investment industry. He was a co-founder of AGH Capital Group, a private equity and diversified investment holding company based in Johannesburg, with assets in several African countries.
Prior to co-founding AGH Capital Group in 2002, he was a Professor of Financial Economics and Banking at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and has advised a number of African central banks and government ministries, the World Bank, and the United Nations. He has held several board positions and is a former non-executive chairman of Heritage Bank Limited, Nigeria.
Since March 2016, he has served as the non-executive chairman of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company.
Commenting, the statement quoted Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy noted that with the exit of Dr. Orjiako, the founders of the company, including Austin Avuru, the pioneer CEO have stepped off the board, and the “company moves into the next chapter of its development.
“Seplat has once again demonstrated its commitment to strong corporate governance in delivering on its promise of appointing an Independent Non-Executive Chairman. Mr. Basil Omiyi has been a leading figure in the Nigerian oil and gas sector and also with Seplat Energy, having joined its Board in 2013 and helped it to achieve a dual listing in April 2014.”
The new chairman’s vast depth of experience and his detailed knowledge of Seplat Energy, believes, “will be invaluable as we continue to evolve and mature the company. He has provided invaluable guidance as an Independent Director and I look forward to his continued leadership as our new Independent Non-Executive Chairman.
“We will also benefit from the considerable expertise of Dr. Charles Okeahalam as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, especially his experience and knowledge of Africa’s economies and its financial markets. Under their guidance, we will continue to expand and consolidate our position as Nigeria’s leading energy company and the partner of choice to deliver energy transition for Africa’s largest economy and its rapidly growing population,” Brown stressed.