Seplat Energy Rebuts Allegations against CEO, Board

Seplat Energy Plc has rebutted allegations against its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown and the Board of Directors of the company.

Seplat in a statement rebutted the allegation that its CEO, on resumption of office in 2020, embarked on a forced resignation and sacking of Nigerian staff based on discriminatory policies.

“There was no mass sack or forced retirement, as claimed. The individuals listed in furtherance of this allegation were 8 in number and they left the Company between 2020 and 2022. The exits resulted from a) an Organisational restructure approved by the Board and communicated to staff on 12th October 2020, and b) such individual’s willing resignation/early retirement,” the statement reads.

On allegation that the CEO deployed intimidation and passive aggression on the Director Corporate Services and the SLT to enforce a 3-point manipulative ranking scheme against Nigerian staff, the company said: “The 3-point appraisal system was developed by HR in response to staff suggestions for a review of the performance ranking system. On the part of management, the review was to ensure that rewards were tied closely to results such that those who were assessed with a higher performance would be eligible to receive a higher bonus payment. The 3-point system resulted from an extensive internal review of our performance appraisal processes, with due consideration to the continuous staff complaints about issues which they observed/experienced in the former 5-point system.”

According to the statemet, “The prior practice was a 5-point scale of Exceptional (score 81-87), Very Good (score 75-80), Good (66-74), Average (60-65) and Poor (score of 59 & below). A review was required due to the following challenges with the 5-point scale: “Prolonged periods spent in assigning different marks to identified level of performance, in order to achieve a 75percent average. The objective was to make the assessment process more efficient and arrive at a timely outcome and make timely bonus payouts to staff. Imbalanced performance assessment and outcome for staff working within the same performance/job group level. The objective was to ensure that staff on the same performance level receive the same percentage bonus and individual performance review.”

On subjectivity in the appraisal process, it added, “The objective was to encourage managers to make holistic decisions about employee performance levels based on quality, timeline, exhibition of Seplat Values.”

It further noted that in addition to resolving the above challenges, “a revised appraisal process would eliminate the manner in which the 5-point system limited promotion opportunities primarily due to the 75percent cut-off mark required for promotion. The review of performance appraisal process was led by the Company’s HR department. At the end of the review process, two (2) options were presented to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for consideration. The SLT is comprised of the senior leaders of the Company and is the highest decision-making body of the Company after Board members.

“The options considered by the SLT included (i) a 3-point scale of Outstanding, Strong and Average ratings, or (ii) a modified 5-point scale of Exceptional, Very Strong, Strong, Average and Poor ratings. Following the HR presentation, the SLT members extensively debated on the merits and demerits of each option and thereafter unanimously voted for the Company to adopt a 3-point performance rating scale, as being the most appropriate in helping to differentiate staff performance levels.”

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