Confirmation of National Oil boss could stoke conflict of interest debate

National Oil Corporation of Kenya CEO MaryJane Mwangi. PHOTO | COURTESY
National Oil Corporation of Kenya CEO MaryJane Mwangi. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) yesterday confirmed interim boss MaryJane Mwangi to serve as CEO after acting for a year.

The State-owned oil firm said Ms Mwangi was ranked top in interviews and will now head the firm for the next three years effective August 1.

“She is expected to drive change, lead and build a competitive fully integrated oil and gas firm,” said Samuel Gakunga, the acting board chairman said.

Ms Mwangi took over the leadership of Nock following the acrimonious exit of Sumayya Hassan-Athmani in July 2016.

The incoming CEO was previously the general manager in charge of downstream operations which includes overseeing marketing, distribution and retail of products at Nock.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nairobi.

Conflict of interest?

Ms Mwangi’s confirmation is likely to renew debate on possible conflict of interest given that she is wife to Tullow Oil Kenya country manager Martin Mbogo.

Nock is the custodian of Kenya’s oil exploration data, and feeds firms such as Tullow Oil and its rivals with this information.

It began operations in 1984 with the strategic mandate to play a price stabilising role and arrest any cartel-like behaviour by private oil marketers.

The incoming Nock CEO will be tasked with revamping the firm’s retail network, returning the oil marketer to profitability, overseeing multi-billion shilling infrastructure projects and guiding the company into crude oil extraction.

Nock’s retail footprint has fallen to the current 99 retail stations from 120 last year.

In the oil category, it has a market share of 3.2 per cent as at March 2017 to be ranked seventh behind KenolKobil #ticker:KENO, Shell, Total #ticker:TOTL, Gulf, OiLibya, and Petro.