Angola President appoints daughter as head of state oil firm

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has appointed his daughter, Isabel, as the chairwoman of the state oil company Sonangol.

The leader fired the company’s entire board and replaced it with new executives as part of a plan to restructure the business so it runs more efficiently, he said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. Paulino Fernando de Carvalho Geronimo has been appointed chief executive officer, it said. Angola vies with Nigeria’s as Africa’s biggest oil producer.

Angola’s economy has been hit by the fall in the price of oil, which accounts for about two-thirds of state revenue, and the government is seeking funding from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and China. In addition to being the president’s daughter Isabel dos Santos is Africa’s richest woman with business interests spanning mobile phones to banking in both Angola and Portugal.

The move tightens Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s grip on the economy. One of his sons also heads the state sovereign wealth fund.

The new team aims to make Sonangol more competitive internationally by reducing costs, Isabel dos Santos said in an e-mailed statement. The company will seek to improve profitability and the dividends it pays to the state, she said.

The board plans to “ensure transparency” in the company’s management and apply global corporate-governance standards. It will improve relations with suppliers and other partners, she said.

Boston Consulting Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Vieira de Almeida & Associados have been picked to advise the board on the execution of its strategy, Isabel dos Santos said.


– Bloomberg