The board of Directors of Seplat Energy Plc, at the weekend, announced the appointment of three new independent non-executive directors with effect from May 18, 2022, the same day that Bryant Orjiako, the company’s chairman is billed to formally step down, apparently bowing to renewed pressure.
The new board members who are expected to enrich and help drive the company with their individual and cumulative corporate experiences include Ernest Ebi, Mrs. Bashirat Odunewu, and Kazeem Raimi.
Ebi is a nominee of Shebah Petroleum Development Company Limited (BVI), replaces Dr. Bryant Orjiako, the chairman, who would be attending his last Annual General Meeting of the company in that capacity.
Ebi, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from June 1999 to 2009, where he was in charge of the policy and corporate services portfolios, brings on board a vast experience in the banking and finance industry spanning over four decades. Prior to this, he held several executive positions in the banking industry in Nigeria and the United States, including Deputy Managing Director of Diamond Bank Limited, leading the bank’s financial services marketing strategy & initiatives for new business development amongst others. In 1995, he was appointed by the CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation as the Managing Director and CEO of New Nigerian Bank Plc, and was responsible for the development and implementation of a credible turnaround, contributing significantly to the recovery of a huge portfolio of non-performing risk assets. Ebi also held senior positions at the International Merchant Bank, as the Assistant General Manager (credit & marketing department) and Assistant. General Manager (Loan Review & Audit); and recently served as chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc (2016–2020), and AIICO Pension Managers (2010-2021). He currently serves as an Independent Director on the board of Dangote Cement Plc, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Coronation Capital Limited, and Coronation Asset Management Limited.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the Institute of Directors Nigeria (IOD); he was awarded the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2007 in recognition of his meritorious service
Mrs. Odunewu, also a banking and financial expert with about 30 years of experience, was until June 2021, C-Suite executive, corporate banking (Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure), at First Bank Nigeria Limited. Prior to that, she was the line executive for their international banking group where she supervised CEOs of the subsidiaries of the bank in six African countries as well as the Representative office in China. A Chartered accountant, and certified member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators-UK (MCIArb), she is well versed in business strategy with over 10 years hands-on experience at C-suite Executive Management. She is also a member of the CIBN and IoD, and currently serves as an Independent director on the board of Leadway Holdings and Non-Executive Director (NED) on the boards of some African subsidiary banks of First Bank Nigeria.
She is also on the boards of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc, and the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry where she serves as the Treasurer.
Raimi is a nominee of Platform Petroleum Limited, where he is currently the Executive Director, Commercial for Platform Petroleum Limited, and replaces Austin Avuru, the founding chief executive of Seplat Energy, who stepped down from the board on March 1, 2022. Previously with Seplat Energy as General Manager, Commercial, 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.
Raimi has extensive experience in project economics and risk analysis, having been Lead Petroleum Economist and Commercial Advisor at Addax Petroleum Nigeria where he also served in different capacities. Prior to this, Raimi served as Treasury Manager at Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Finance Analyst at Citibank Nigeria Limited. He had significant involvement in commercial and economic evaluations of new ventures, farm-in and company acquisition opportunities with a thorough appreciation of tax, fiscal issues, and project economics especially as they relate to Nigeria, Gabon, Iraq and Cameroon. In addition to his role at Platform Petroleum Limited, Mr. Raimi also serves as a Non – Executive Director at PNG Gas Limited and Ase River Transport Company Limited.
Raimi holds a First-Class Hono,urs degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan, Master of Science in Oil and Gas Economics from the University of Dundee and has undertaken several courses in Harvard Business School.
Commenting on the appointments, Orjiako welcomed the new members to the board, describing them as “excellent professionals with their wealth of experience spanning over decades. SEPLAT Energy eagerly looks forward to the enormous contributions they will make towards achieving global success.”