BY CHARLES ABUEDE
Seplat Energies has replaced its pioneer chairman, A.B.C. Orjiako, with former Shell executive, Basil Omiyi, who will be expected to meet with shareholders at the company’s next annual general meeting at which Orjiako’s notice to step down had been billed to take effect.
Omiyi, who is a member of the board and currently serves as a senior independent non-executive director, will be replaced in that position by Charles Okeahalam, the company said in an advisory it sent to the capital market community via the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).
Orjiako had earlier served a long notice of resignation and the company is said to have been weighing up his replacement options ever since and has only now come forward following the conclusion of that process.
Seplat said in its disclosure that the two appointments followed a thorough assessment of internal and external candidates and were approved after a unanimous vote by all the directors in compliance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act in Nigeria (CAMA).
The leading indigenous supplier of gas to the domestic power generation market also revealed that the appointments are with immediate effect.
Roger Brown, chief executive officer, in his comments on the appointments, said the company will, through their guidance, continue the consolidation of its position as Nigeria’s leading energy company poised to deliver energy transition for Africa’s largest economy and its rapidly growing population.
“As the founders of Seplat Energy, ABC Orjiako and Austin Avuru, step 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.
“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 vast depth of experience and his detailed knowledge of Seplat Energy 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 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,” he said.
Omiyi became senior independent non-executive director in 2021 after joining the board in 2013 and during this period sat on the company’s remuneration, nominations and governance, energy transition, and risk management & HSSE committees.
His experience in the energy industry is extensive, with more than 40 years at Royal Dutch Shell, during which time he held senior roles in Nigeria and Europe, including becoming managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in 2004 and in addition, country chairman of Shell Companies, Nigeria, until his retirement in 2009.
Also, Omiyi 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, energy sector, NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria, and board member, NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria from 2005-2010; chairman, Oil & Gas Commission, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, from 2005-2010; and board member, Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2007- 2010. Omiyi is also the Independent non-executive chairman, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, a post he has held since 2015.
Charles Okeahalam, the new senior independent non-executive director, joined the board in March 2013 as an independent non-executive director, and is chairman, Seplat Energy’s finance committee, and a member of the energy transition, remuneration, and nominations and governance committees.
Prior to his journey with Seplat, Okeahalam had 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.
His other roles have included advising 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.