The appointment of Jean-Marc Cordier as the head of the oil trading arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has raised diverse concerns among industry experts and operators.
This announcement was made in a statement issued in Abuja by the company’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba-Deen Muhammad.
The announcement, however, triggered resentments among analysts and operators on Monday, though other experts found nothing wrong with the development.
Energy expert and Chief Executive Officer, of Sage Consulting, Bode Fadipe, said, “It is of concern to most Nigerians that at this time of our lives, we are still having a foreigner in such a strategic business enterprise in this country.
“The question many people will ask is, don’t we have Nigerians who can manage that office?” Are the expatriates now investors in the business, or is it a joint venture that allows a foreigner to hold that kind of position?
“Has NNPC Ltd. sold its shares to the public? To the best of my knowledge, it is still the Nigerian government that owns the shares in NNPCL. It is still owned by the government, so when did it start appointing foreigners to such a level?”
Fadipe said this was the first time he would see such an appointment at the national oil company, describing the development as abnormal.
“I think it is an anomaly.” “I don’t know what would have informed that kind of position, but I think it is a situation that calls for further interrogation,” the energy analyst stated.
NNPCL, in its statement, said Cordier, served as a former Vice President of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, adding that his appointment was in furtherance of the ongoing repositioning of the company for improved growth, better performance, and service delivery.
The statement read in part, “A renowned international oil trader, Cordier, a French/Swiss national, holds a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance with Distinction from Paris 9 University.”
“He comes into the role with a rich background spanning over 30 years in physical oil, oil derivatives, and risk management, with significant experience in reorganizing and creating a trading business.”
Also commenting on the development, the president of the Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, said NNPCL should endeavor to promote the local content drive of the federal government.
“Does it mean that there are no competent Nigerians who could do the same job, with respect to the promotion of local content? NNCPL has a mandate of refining petroleum products and is a national company.
“So for it to now go out to look for a foreigner shows that it is taking the wrong direction. Was it established solely as an oil marketing company? I think that move is a misalignment on this part,” he stated.