Energy and chemicals group Sasol announced on Friday that it had appointed Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell as joint-CEOs, with effect from July 1, 2016.
The appointments follow the June 8 announcement that incumbent CEO David Constable had decided not to extend his contract beyond June 30, 2016, the end of the JSE-listed group’s financial year.
Nqwababa is currently CFO and Cornell executive vice president for international operations.
Former acting CFO Paul Victor had been appointed to replace Nqwababa from July 1, 2016.
Sasol chairperson Dr Mandla Gantsho said Nqwababa and Cornell had “complementary skills, experience, qualifications and backgrounds, and, together, they will form a formidable team to take this large and complex company to the next level of performance and success”.
Nqwababa is a qualified chartered accountant and holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Universities of Manchester and Wales, Bangor, in the UK. Cornell obtained a Bachelor of Science Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue University, in the US.
“Our Joint-CEO designates have also had relevant industry experience gained prior to joining Sasol at Anglo American Platinum, Eskom and Shell, in respect of Bongani, and BP, Total and Exxon, in respect of Steve,” Gantsho said.
Besides navigating the low oil price environment the joint-CEOs would also need to oversee the group's major operational expansion in North America, located at the Lake Charles chemicals complex in Louisiana.
The group was pushing ahead with a $8.9-billion ethane cracker investment at the complex, which was scheduled for completion in 2018.
Sasol was, however, holding back on a larger $11-billion to $14-billion gas-to-liquids development, also in Louisiana, but had completed a “reframing study”, which showed the economics of the 100 000 bl/d facility could be improved with modifications to its configuration.
In September, the group said it expected oil prices to remain low until the end of the 2017 calendar year, with average Brent crude oil prices expected to remain between $50/bl and $60/bl during its 2016 financial year.