The Board of Directors of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has announced the appointment of a former director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company.
Also appointed alongside Ms. Oteh is Xavier Rolet, a seasoned entrepreneur.
Both appointees would be joining the Seplat Board with effect from October 1, a disclosure notice by the energy company said Tuesday.
The disclosure, made to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, was signed by Edith Onwuchekwa, the company secretary and chief governance compliance officer.
Controversial reign at SEC
Ms Oteh, the new appointee, was enmeshed in a series of controversies when she acted as SEC DG under the administration of former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan.
At the height of the crisis in 2012, she had a public spat with Herman Hembe, then chairman of the House Committee on the capital market, during the committee’s public hearing investigating the crash of the Nigerian capital market.
On the second day of the hearing, Mr. Hembe accused Ms. Oteh of expending N30 million on hotel bills in eight months following her appointment in January 2010.
He also accused her of spending N850,000 on food in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. He said Ms. Oteh, who currently serves as a Vice President of the World Bank, hired two staff of Access Bank, Charles Ugheli and Titi Olubiyi, to work as advisers to SEC, while they retained their position with the bank.
Ms. Oteh fired back saying “Hembe lacks credibility. For instance, he collected estacode and other travel allowances from the Securities and Exchange Commission to travel to the Dominican Republic on a capacity enhancement conference for capital market regulators. He did not go neither did he return the money collected.”
She added that he also “asked the commission to contribute N39 million towards the ongoing charade of a public hearing and demanded another N5 million cash on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. He made both demands by proxy. So, I doubt it if I can have a fair hearing from this committee and this fact has been more than demonstrated with the way you are handling this important issue.”
Ms Oteh, however, left the office under controversial circumstances.
In its disclosure Tuesday, Seplat said that Ms Oteh is a seasoned C-suite executive with several years of experience operating at the highest levels at major multilateral agencies, global financial institutions, and in Government.
“She has been an academic scholar at the University of Oxford since January 2019 and a member of the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group since January 2020. Ms. Oteh served as Treasurer and Vice President of the World Bank from 2015 to 2018.
“As Treasurer, she led a global team that managed the World Bank’s $200 billion debt portfolio as well as an asset portfolio of $200 billion for the World Bank Group and several public sector clients including 65 central banks. She was responsible for a $600 billion derivatives portfolio used for hedging and risk management purposes. She had oversight over a treasury operation with an annual cash flow of $7 trillion and led an extensive public sector financial advisory business, pioneering a number of innovative solutions such as the world’s first-ever pandemic bond in 2017 and blockchain public bond in 2018. Ms Oteh was the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Nigeria from 2010 to 2015.
“As Director-General of Nigeria’s apex capital market regulator, she was responsible for the regulation of Nigeria’s capital markets, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange and led the rebuilding of the capital markets after the global financial crisis. She also served on Nigeria’s Economic Management team, chaired by the Nigerian President. Previous to SEC Nigeria, she worked at the Africa Development Bank for 17 years in a variety of roles including Group Vice President, Corporate Services (2006 to 2009), and Group Treasurer (2001 to 2006). Her career started in 1985 at Centre Point Investments Limited, a Nigerian investment bank”
The disclosure added that Ms Oteh has also served on several Boards, notably, the International Organization of Securities Commissions(2010 to 2015) which regulates 95% of the world’s securities markets.
“She obtained a first-class honours degree in Computer Science, from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1984 and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, from Harvard Business School in 1990. She has received several recognitions, notably, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) National Honour for her contribution to the economic development of Nigeria and role in transforming the Nigerian capital markets.
“She was also named the 2014 Ai Capital Market Personality of the Year, and among New African’s “100 Most Influential Africans of 2015”. In 2018, she was honoured as the Ai Global Institutional Investment Personality of the Year, and in 2020, was named both the top 100 people in the UK of African heritage, by Power list and Africa top 50 women by Forbes.”
On his part, Seplat said, Mr Rolet, is an experienced entrepreneur, named as one of the 100 Best CEOs in the World in the 2017 Harvard Business Review.
“In his decade at the helm of the London Stock Exchange, the LSE’s market valuation rose from £800m to more than £15bn, transforming it into one of the world’s largest exchanges by market capitalization. He is currently the Chairman, Board of Directors at Phosagro PJSC, a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Stock Exchange Tadawul as an appointee of the Public Investment Fund, and an Expert Adviser to the Shanghai Institute of Finance for the Real Economy,” the firm said.
Commenting on the appointments, Bryant Orjiako, Chairman of SEPLAT, said the “Board of SEPLAT is delighted to be joined by two such distinguished international business leaders”, adding that both appointees bring extensive expertise in the fields of regulation, capital markets and business governance to the Board.