Sasol joint CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell sacrificed their jobs after they failed to properly supervise the project team in Louisiana.
The project was said to have run so far overtime and over budget.
The cost of the Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) has almost doubled to about R12.9 billion since inception. It’s been hard hit by multiple technical problem, news of which either never made it to executives, or was so sanitized that those executives were making decisions in the dark.
The investigation into the failings around the Lake Charles project revealed that senior leaders did not adequately challenge one another, and that key decisions were not adequately interrogated.
“To be clear, the Board has neither identified misconduct nor incompetence on the part of the joint CEOs,” Sasol said in a statement.
But the investigation did find that there was a combination of inappropriate conduct or incompetence in stemming the massive outflows on the project.
Sasol Board of Directors said the duo will leave the company on Thursday, 31 October 2019.
The current Executive Vice President for Chemicals at the New York Stock Exchange-listed group, Fleetwood Grobler has been appointed as the chief executive in place of the joint CEOs.
The board has resolved to ensure that the company lives its values and to ensure that there is a culture of accountability and consequence management. It is also the judgement of the board that, for trust to be restored in the company, a leadership reset is required.
A senior executive previously in charge of the project is facing disciplinary action while three executives involved in Lake Charles have left the company.
Further to the Director and management changes referred to in our financial results announcement earlier today, the Board is pleased to also announce the appointment of Mr V D Kahla as an Executive Director of Sasol with effect from 1 November 2019.
Mr Kahla joined Sasol in 2011 and serves as the Executive Vice President: Advisory, Assurance and Supply Chain and Company Secretary. Prior to joining Sasol, Mr Kahla served on the Group Executive Committee of Transnet from 2004 to 2010, after serving on the Africa Executive Committee of Standard Bank.
Mr Kahla chairs the Council of Rhodes University and previously served on the Audit Committee of the South African Revenue Service.
Mr Kahla holds BA and LLB degrees.
Pursuant to his appointment as an Executive Director, Mr Kahla resigned as Company Secretary of Sasol with effect from 1 November 2019.
Ms MML Mokoka, currently Senior Vice President: Governance, Compliance and Ethics of Sasol and Company Secretary of Sasol South Africa Limited, has been appointed as Acting Company Secretary of Sasol with effect from 1 November 2019, until the Board fills this vacancy. Prior to joining Sasol, Ms Mokoka was the Group Company Secretary of Gold Fields Limited.
She has extensive company secretariat experience, having also worked in multinational organisations such as MTN, Standard Bank and Tongaat Hulett. Ms Mokoka is an admitted attorney and holds BJuris and LLB degrees.
The Board is of the view that Ms Mokoka has the necessary expertise and experience to act in this role, in accordance with the JSE Limited Listing Requirements.
Dr MSV Gantsho, the Chairman of the Board said: “On behalf of the Board, and in my own name, I welcome our new Executive Director, Mr Kahla, who brings a wealth of experience to the Sasol Board.
We look forward to his contribution in this new role.”
Dr Gantsho added: “We are grateful that Ms Mokoka has agreed to assume, on an acting basis, the role of Company Secretary of Sasol, until a permanent appointment is made.