The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy PLC, Roger Brown, has stepped down from office following the order of a Federal High court in Lagos. T
The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy PLC, Roger Brown, has stepped down from office following the order of a Federal High court in Lagos.
The court restrained Brown, from parading himself as the firm’s CEO, pending the determination of a suit filed against him and others by aggrieved stakeholders of the company.
The aggrieved stakeholders accused Brown of racism, favouritism for expatriate workers, discrimination against Nigerians, and breach of good governance.
In a statement signed by the Chairman of the board of Seplat, Basil Omiyi, on Friday, the embattled CEO has delegated authority to the Chief Operating Officer, Samson Ezugwore, to act as CEO during this period.
The statement revealed that Seplat has been served the court processes and the ex parte order of Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke of Federal High Court, Lagos. Nigeria, “restraining the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown from participating in the running of the Company [for a period of 7 days].”
According to Seplat, the court order was premised on allegations of unfair, prejudicial, and offensive acts by the Chairman, CEO and all of the Independent Non-Executive Directors of Seplat Energy.
The allegations include that the CEO organised a site visit for a number of its major shareholders to the company’s operations, cancelled some catering and landscaping contracts, and introduced a new job performance rating.
Refuting the claims, Seplat Energy said that Nigerians have been appointed to the company’s most important positions, including Chairman, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating officer, since Roger became CEO in 2020.
The board stated that the allegations levelled against it were reactions to its enforcement of corporate governance standards and a determination to continue to uphold its fiduciary duties to the company.
Part of the statement read, “The Order allows the Chairman, Mr Basil Omiyi, and all the INEDS of Seplat Energy to continue running the affairs of the Company on the basis that it is in accordance with Nigerian law.
“Mr. Brown has delegated authority to Mr. Samson Ezugwore, Chief Operating Officer, to act as CEO during the period that he is required to step back from his executive duties.
“Seplat will follow the due processes of law in responding to the allegations before the courts. At the same time, the Company will continue to maintain its operational excellence and act in line with the best corporate governance standards.”
The defendants in the suit no. FHC/L/402/2023 include Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye, and Robert Ibekwe.
The case was adjourned to March 23, 2023, for a hearing on the pending application.