President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday appointed some special advisers for key sectors of the economy. One of these appointees is Ms Olu Verheijen, who has been named the president’s adviser on the Energy sector.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the field, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that encompasses the oil, gas, power, and renewable energy sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to her current role, Ms Verheijen served as a Deal Lead at Shell, where she provided advice on gas commercialization and participated in mergers and acquisitions transactions totalling over $5 billion. Additionally, she held a position on the governing Board of a Shell upstream joint venture, demonstrating her involvement in high-level decision-making within the industry.
Currently, Ms Verheijen holds the position of Founder and Managing Director at Latimer Energy, a commercial consultancy firm that specializes in advising clients on investment decisions in the energy sector. Through Latimer Energy, she offers a range of services, including commercial negotiations, portfolio value optimization, and opportunity screening.
Overall, Ms Verheijen’s appointment as the president’s adviser on the Energy sector seems to be well-deserved, given her extensive experience and track record in the industry. Her diverse background and expertise in various energy sectors make her an asset in formulating strategic policies and driving sustainable economic growth in the energy sector.
Her career so far has been marked by remarkable achievements and diverse roles. From 2006 to 2017, spanning 11 years, she held various high-powered positions at Shell, where she consistently delivered exceptional results. During this period, she excelled in roles such as Deal Lead, Business Opportunity Manager, Commercial Lead, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Manager, and Commercial Finance Advisor.
As a Deal Lead, she led successful commercial negotiations on multi-billion-dollar M&A transactions, securing additional post-deal revenue from oil and gas sales, transportation, and storage. She also played a pivotal role in negotiating the financial structures necessary for the formulation of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan policy framework, with the aim of expanding domestic gas utilization.
In addition, she spearheaded the development and execution of value-optimization and monetization strategies for large-scale offshore gas capital projects, contributing to their successful implementation. Furthermore, she oversaw the assessment of new business opportunities, unlocking portfolio value, and establishing venture governance.
Prior to her tenure at Shell, she worked as a Senior Public Finance Associate at Moody’s Investors Service, where she gained valuable expertise in the financial sector. Additionally, she served as a non-Executive Director at Daystar Power Group, a leading provider of hybrid power solutions in West African markets.
She also acted as a Partner and early-stage investor at Persistent, an investment firm based in Nairobi, focusing on distributed renewables companies across Africa. Ms Verheijen holds prominent positions outside of her core roles as well.
She serves as an Advisory Council Member of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Energy for Growth Hub. Furthermore, she is the Founder and CEO of the BFA Foundation, an organization that funds skills acquisition scholarships for high-achieving, low-income individuals, enabling them to pursue career advancement opportunities in high-growth sectors, including the energy industry.
Between 2003 and 2005, Ms Verheijen pursued her higher education at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School, where she obtained a master’s degree in public policy, with a focus on Financial Markets Analysis, Business, and Government Policy. This academic achievement further solidified her understanding of the intricate dynamics between economics, politics, and policymaking.
Earlier in her educational journey, she attended Long Island University from 1995 to 1999, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science. This foundational education equipped her with a broad understanding of economic principles and political systems, providing a strong basis for her subsequent professional endeavours.
By combining her academic accomplishments with her extensive practical experience in the energy sector, Ms Verheijen possesses a comprehensive skill set that enables her to navigate complex economic and policy landscapes. Her educational background, coupled with her expertise in the energy industry, positions her as an asset in shaping effective policies and driving sustainable economic growth in the energy sector.