National Oil Company CEO Josephine Wapakabulo unexpectedly resigns

Josephine Wapakabulo has said that she will resign as chief executive of the Uganda National Oil Company on August 13, after just three years in the position, according to a letter addressed to Unoc’s board chairman.

In a letter to Emmanuel Katongole, Ms Wapakabulo said “the time has come for me to focus on my family and new opportunities.” She gave no other reason for her departure.

Ms Wapakabulo’s appointment to the position was announced on June 1, 2016 and it became effective two months later. She was the first chief executive of the government-owned company, which is charged with managing Uganda’s commercial interests in the oil and gas industry.

“Chairman, it has been an honour and privilege to work with you, the board and staff of Unoc as we setup and established Unoc to handle the state’s commercial interests in the oil & gas sector,” the letter, dated May 13, said.

“I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve since I was recruited as the first employee and CEO on 1st August 2016. I am most proud of the hardworking, smart and skilled Ugandans we have employed at Unoc.”

The letter added: “I express my sincere gratitude to his Excellence President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his leadership and stewardship of our oil & gas sector. I also thank our shareholder ministers, Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni and Hon. Matia Kasaija, you and the board for all the support and guidance you have given me during my time as CEO and for this opportunity to serve my country.”

Unoc was incorporated in 2015 and is owned by the government through the ministries of energy and finance with a 51% and 49% shareholding, respectively. It has two subsidiaries; the Uganda Refinery Holding Company, through which Uganda’s stake in the oil refinery will be carried and the Uganda National Pipeline Company, which will manage Uganda’s stake in the oil pipeline.

Ms Wapakabulo is a daughter of the late James Wapakabulo, the former minister of foreign affairs, speaker of Parliament, and chairman of the Constituent Assembly.

She is said to be a “trusted hand of President Museveni” who had already handled “critical assignments” before she was appointed Unoc chief executive.