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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Africa’s Richest Woman To Completely Overhaul Angola’s State-Run Oil Co.

Isabel dos Santos—the richest woman in Africa, the Angolan president’s daughter and now the CEO of the country’s state-run oil giant—on Monday said she plans to overhaul the Sonangol oil company department by department to bring it out of the oil price crisis.

Isabel dos Santos became CEO last week after a presidential decree from her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, appointed her to the lucrative and vital position.

The company’s previous leader had been at its helm for 36 years, prompting fears of nepotism from the president’s opponents, one of which, The National Union for Total Independence of Angola, rejected Isabel’s appointment on Tuesday.

Related: Rebound In Oil Prices Changes Drillers’ Mindset

“The measure confirms once more the practice of nepotism by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos,” Unita, said in an emailed statement released on Tuesday. “Angolans should not accept President dos Santos becoming an absolute king.”

According to analysts cited by Reuters, the president could be laying the groundwork for a dynastic succession if and when he steps down from his presidency in 2018 after elections occur next year.

Local media sources said the overhaul would involve the firms Boston Consulting Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which would assist in the restructuring process.

At a press conference last week, Isabel said she would split the national company into three parts, in order to better organize and oversee operations, logistics and concessions to international oil companies.

Related: Oil Prices Stimulated By Fed’s Inaction

The new CEO will also consider building a domestic oil refinery in order to reduce the country’s need to import almost all diesel and gasoline, all while cutting production costs instead of resorting to layoffs during this difficult financial period.

Santos has a net worth of US$3.4 billion and holds major investments in banking and telecommunications companies, according to recent reports by Forbes.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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