Roger Brown Steps in As CEO of SEPLAT

Roger Brown

Roger Brown, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc resumed on August 1, 2020, following the retirement of the founding CEO, Austin Avuru.

Brown is expected to lead SEPLAT into the next phase of the company’s growth aspirations following the retirement of  the founding CEO Austin Avuru on July 31, 2020 after 10 years.

Brown joined SEPLAT in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the Company in 2014 on both the London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges. Similarly, since joining SEPLAT, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the Company as well as implementing the company’s financial business model.

Brown played critical roles in the company’s successful landmark deals, Initial Public Offering (IPO) and financial structure of debt and acquisitions, as well as increased returns to shareholders. He is very familiar with the local and global business environments and institutions. As the new CEO, he is expected to work towards reinforcing the company’s leading position in the Energy sector.

Brown brings to the CEO role, an extensive knowledge of the Company in his over 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board. He has strong financial, commercial and Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth. One area of priority for SEPLAT is to ensure that liquidity and cash flow of the company remains strong and that the company’s balance sheet maintains its resilience and robustness.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group. During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

SEPLAT’s new CEO is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. The product of Belfast Royal Academy also holds MSc in Finance from University of Ulster; BSc (Hons) in Finance from University of Dundee. Brown joined Seplat and its board in July 2013, having previously been an advisor to the company since 2010, Roger set up the London office for the company prior to listing on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges (Main Board).

During his time at the company he steered the business through extremely challenging times during low oil prices and an 18-month period when the business was not producing oil due to a shutdown of its main oil pipeline.

He also put in place a total of $1.75billion of financing which included an inaugural $350million Eurobond as well as bringing in a number of top tier banks into the syndicate.

SEPLAT in line with its forward looking plans positions itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies.

SEPLAT corporate transition which saw Brown take over as CEO would require a different kind of organizational structure, people skills set and mentality to competitively position well in the expanded space.

In view of this development, SEPLAT will no doubt be reviewing its current organisational and systems structure. Already, the Board of Directors of SEPLAT appointed Emeka Onwuka as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Director of the Company. He joined the Seplat Board on August 1, 2020.

The next stage which Brown leads as CEO requires a wide global business/transaction view requiring deep financial and capital markets knowledge and experience.

 

Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) Tasks FG On More Commercially Focused NOC

    NNRCNNRC

Following the suboptimal performance of the national company in Nigeria, the Federal Government has been charged to urgently embark on complete overhaul of the country’s oil and gas sector, in particular the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 1to make it both competitive and productive in line with international best practices.
The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), a non-profit policy institute, committed to effective natural resource governance in Nigeria made the call in a recent statement made available to BusinessUpdate.
According to the NNRC, the Federal Government should use the opportunity provided by the prevailing socio-economic situation nationally and globally to completely overhaul the oil and gas sector of the nation’s economy. particularly the (NNPC) to make it more productive and competitive al in line with international best practices.
Over the years, NNPC has consistently underperformed against the NNRCs global best practice benchmark for optimal national oil company performance which prescribes that national oil companies be accountable to their citizens and government, with well-defined mandates and an objective of commercial efficiency. However, the NNRC commends NNPC for its commitment to its TAPE agenda and its recent efforts to it by publishing the 2018 audited reports of its subsidiaries. Still, there remains a need for greater transparency and accountability. It is expected that these practices will survive the present administration and going forward become part of the corporate culture.
Holistic improvements across the NOC will require clear and appropriate decisions and role of the NOC and how it is financed, corporate governance systems that limit political interference and allow for efficient oversight, and a commitment to transparency and accountability. It is expected that the NOCs that will succeed in maximizing their potential enterprise value, and thus maximize their revenue contribution to the nation, will be those who succeed at building strong governance along with capital and operational excellence into their culture.
Comparing Norways Equinor and NNPC, performance records show that Equinors three refineries averaged 92.8% capacity utilisation in 2018 while NNPCs three refineries recorded 11.21%. A 2015 comparison of average refinery capacity utilisation in the USA of 90.98% and Nigeria of 4.88% is even worse. Unless NNPCs refineries can operate at minimum 90% capacity they will continue to lose money.

In the area of revenues accruing to government, NNPCs performance compared to Petrobras (of Brazil), or Petronas (of Malaysia) shows gross inefficiency. Even when benchmarked with similar national oil companies in Africa such as Sonatrach of Algeria and Sonagol of Angola, the NNPC still falls short on different counts.

Another area highlighted by the NNRC as a big challenge to the growth of the NNPC is the issue of corporate governance. It is noteworthy that peer group companies that are wholly government owned like the NNPC do have strong governing boards constituted by competent professionals, instead of preference for political representation. The NNPC is the only NOC with a serving government minister on its board. This brings unintended political baggage which impacts negatively on the smooth running of the organization.

Closely linked to governance, management and delivery is the concern for organizational flux. Compared to other NOCs the NNPC has had far more executive turnover.  Unlike Petronas where the average tenure of a CEO is 6 years, and 9 years in Saudi Aramco NNPC by contrast has had 20 GMDs in 42 years, an average tenure of 2 years per chief executive.

Reforming the Corporation, according to the NNRC requires new thinking and new strategies. It starts with the recognition that NNPC is not and was never designed, from the beginning, to be a commercially driven enterprise. Had it been so, it would have been capitalised, granted more operational autonomy and burdened with fewer regulatory functions as in the NNPC Act. Its governing board would reflect that of a commercial enterprise, even if government owned like Saudi Aramco, with fewer political appointees.

No doubt the Petroleum Industry Bill will be a good platform to remedy the deficiencies in particular as it goes to greater lengths to separate commercial entities from regulatory authorities, leaving the national oil company to focus on finding, producing and commercializing petroleum resources.

SON Alerts On Substandard “Toyota” Brand of Engine Oil

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Toyota Brand lubricant's
Toyota Brand lubricant’s
he Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sounded a note of warning to Nigerian consumers on the proliferation of substandard lubricant in the country.

The agency noted that a particular brand of engine oil called Toyota engine oil is in the market and should not be patronised, warning that these products have not undergone any offshore conformity assessment.

The Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate, SON, Engr. Obiora Manafa, at an enforcement exercise in Lagos, said further investigation revealed that these brand of products have no close or remote relationship with the real Toyota Vehicle manufacturing company, advising the unsuspecting consumers to always patronise only certified engine oils registered with SON.

In his words, “It is necessary we raised this red alert for the public to know what we discovered in the market and you know we carry out regular market survey activities across the country and we have 42 State offices across the country where we do these market survey in all the States. We discovered this brand of engine oil in the market, Toyota brand of engine oil and from our records, this brand of Toyota engine oil has not undergone any offshore conformity assessment process which we call SONCAP. It has not undergone the product registration process for traceability and quality verification, so it is necessary that we alert the public that as far SON is concerned, these products are substandard and we do not encourage anybody to buy it.”

He added “We do not encourage people to patronise these products because these are the kind of products that can cause engine damage to motor vehicles, machinery, generators and the likes. When engine oils are not subjected to test, you cannot vouch for the quality and you cannot recommend the oil for any vehicle or machinery and these are the engine oil that lacks the necessary quality additives  required of a good engine oil.”

According to him, the first quality of a good engine oil should help to facilitate friction, prevent sludges gathering in the engine and reduce leakages.

He said consumers should always look out for SON logos for locally made engine oils and SON registration numbers on imported engine oils.

He said these products have not met the requirement of the standard which is NIS 370 for engine oil, pointing out that efforts are already ongoing to apprehend the importer of these fake and substandard lubricant.

“We are appealing to Nigerians not to patronise these products

 because we cannot vouch for the quality.  We are also sending a stern warning to the importers of these fake products because we are going to apply the provisions of the SON Act 14 of 2015, where we are going to prosecute anybody we find importing these products and we would arrest them and prosecute them in line with the provisions of that act,” he stressed.

“We have mobilised our enforcement to fish out the importer of these products and definitely we are going to get them. We are also going to find where these products are stocked so that we can evacuate all of them and destroy them if they fail the quality test. We are going to subject these ones to test and see if they conform with the requirements of the standard,” he added. 

He said the standards body is working market associations to ensure that these products do not circulate in the nation’s markets while also announcing plans to find out where these products are being stocked.

“Our target is the warehouses where these goods are stocked so that we can evacuate them, because they go to these warehouses to supply into our markets. If we pick two to five cartons, it does not really make much impact, so we are looking at the source of supply while we are also working with the market associations to combat the ones in the cartons,” he said. 

“The Covid 19 is biting everyone very hard with everyone struggling to survive this difficult time, but when you now offer bad products to them it will only add to the pains they are going through. The damage of their vehicles will be too much for them to handle and we do not want this to happen. Whether Covid 19 or not, anybody importing these products will be arrested and prosecuted in line with the provisions of the Act,” he maintained.

He advised importers to stop bringing in substandard products and life threatening products such as electric cables, LPG cylinders, tyres and even building materials, advising importers and manufacturers to always visit SON for standards before producing or importing products.

“We do not disturb the activities of any importer who does the right thing, if you resister your products with SON nobody will disturb you and if you cannot visit our offices, you can reach us on our website www.SON.gov.ng to get any information you need from SON,” he said.

“We have different departments in SON and I will like to mention the laboratory services which are located in different parts of the country like in Lagos we have laboratories for food, chemistry situated in Ogba and Lekki while textile and leather services are in Kaduna. We have an engineering laboratory in Enugu where we test mechanical materials like steel bars, civil engineering materials such as cement, concrete and the likes. We also have equipment for calibration. The National Metrology Institute (NMI) in Enugu can do calibration and SON is equipped with all these laboratories and they are open for everybody,” he advised.

He advice consumers snd general public to avial information on substandard products to SON.

Manafa said all hands should be on deck fish out the bad element that want to tske undue advantage of the system

NLNG Train 7: 55% Of Procurement Is For Nigerians – Attah

Attah Tony
Attah Tony

The execution of Train 7 project of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG)will create jobs for our teeming youth, netting up to 12,000 direct jobs at the construction phase and the associated skills acquisition through technology transfer”.

, Speaking at the ongoing 3rd Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), on Monday in Abuja, Managing Director of NLNG, Mr Tony Attah revealed that Nigerian vendors are to handle 55 per cent of all procurement for the projecxt. He maintained that “Riding on the back of a robust Nigerian Content plan endorsed by the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), 55 per cent of the Engineering activities for Train 7 will be carried out in-country

“Fifty-five per cent of all procurement for execution of the project will be undertaken by Nigerian vendors.

“100 per cent of the installations and construction will happen in Nigeria and the entire project will attract huge Foreign Direct Investment to the Nigerian economy,” he said.

The event is titled: “Widening the integration circle: Technology, Knowledge, sustainability partnership.’’

Represented by the General Manager Production, Mr Adeleye Falade, Attah listed other benefits of train 7 to include the emergence of upstream and other associated projects that would bolster the economy.

“With conversations like the ones we are having here at NIPS, there is no doubt that we can all build synergies that should propel Nigeria LNG to sustain its winning streak and support the emergence of new LNG suppliers in the country and the continent at large.

“Our motivation to build and operate Train 7 is heightened by the proven success recorded by Nigeria LNG in the past 20 years of operation,’’ he said.

On hazards, he said that at the current state the company had significantly reduced the environmental hazards arising from gas flaring.

“To date, the company has converted about 191.5bcm (billion standard cubic metres) or 6.8cf (trillion cubic feet) of Associated Gas (AG) to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs),’’ he said.

“The addition of Train 7 to our current six-train plant will add another eight million metric tons of LNG to the current sustained 22 million metric tons production capacity of our plant.

“ln the past 20 years, Nigeria LNG has resiliently maintained top rating as a significant player and the 5th major supplier of global LNG with the export of over 4,500 LNG cargoes delivered safely worldwide: a feat that has reduced gas flaring by Upstream Companies from over 60 per cent.

“This is an enviable position for an African country to achieve in the face of our evolving technological advancement on cleaner energy,” he declared

SEPLAT Anounces Appointment of  Langavant As on- Executive Director: 

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seplat-logo

The Board of Directors of SEPLAT has revealed the retirement of Mr. Michel Hochard as a Non-Executive Director of the Company. and resignation from his role as the Chief Executive officer of Maurel & Prom (“M&P”) while announcing the appointment of Mr. Olivier de Langavant  as the new Chief Executive Officer of M&P, .and Non-Executive Director of the Company effective January 28, 2020.

The announcement is in accordance with Rule 4 of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Amended Listing Rules and Rule 9.6.11 of the UKLA Listing Rules.

Mr. Langavant now replaces Mr. Hochard as a nominee of M&P on the Board of the Company.

Mr. Hochard who was appointed to the Board of SEPLAT in 2009 as a nominee and the Chief Executive Officer of M&P  is believed to have served meritoriously before his retirement..

Mr. Langavant who is presently the Chief Executive Officer of M&P holds an Engineering degree from the National School of Mines of Paris. He has served in various capacities within the Total Group which include: Senior Vice President, Operations in the Netherlands; Deputy Managing Director, Total E&P Angola; Managing Director, Total E&P Myanmar; Managing Director, Total E&P Angola; Senior Vice President, Finance, Economics & Information Systems of Total’s (E&P) branch; and Senior Vice President E&P Strategy, Business Development and R&D.

The SEPLAT Board of Directors is indeed privileged to have him on board and look forward to his immense contribution towards the continued success of the Board and Company.

Seplat Eyes More Asset Acquisitions, Growth

Austin Avuru
Austin Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, an indigenous oil and gas firm says it will acquire more assets in the exploration and production space as well ensure organic growth.

Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Austin Avuru revealed this at the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) January Technical/Business Meeting on Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments in E&P Business held in Lagos on Wednesday, said the development is sequel to the completion of its Eland Oil and Gas Plc’s acquisition deal on December 17, 2019.

He explained that one of Seplat’s key mandate is to leverage opportunities in the oil and gas industry through acquisition of more oil and gas assets.

According to Avuru : “We are delighted to successfully complete the acquisition of Eland, which further enhances Seplat’s footprint in Nigeria and provides opportunities for enhanced scale, diversification and growth. We welcome our new colleagues and Nigerian partners as we look forward to working together in this exciting phase of our development.”

Addressing stakeholders at the NAPE meeting, he said Seplat had positioned itself as an early mover through the acquisition of a 45% operated interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 from Shell, Total and Agip in 2010; thus, becoming the first Nigerian independent to acquire a package of oil and gas blocks directly from the Major International Oil Companies (IOCs) as part of a disposal process.

Following this landmark deal in 2010, Seplat further grew its portfolio through the acquisition of a 40% interest in the OPL 283 marginal field area from Pillar Oil. In 2015 acquired further interests in OML 53 and OML 55 from Chevron Nigeria Limited.

Seplat grew production at OMLs 4, 38 & 41 from 14,000bopd as at acquisition to a peak rate of over 84,000bopd.

Avuru explained: “The Company has demonstrated its ability to work its assets and produce its reserves despite external negative factors such as downtime and losses.

“Seplat also began to invest in its gas business in 2010 in response to the Nigerian Government’s initiatives to improve the debilitating impact of poor power generation and supply in the country by opening the Domestic Supply Obligation pricing to market forces.

“We are strategically positioned to access Nigeria’s main demand centers with current well stock delivering around 300MMscfd (Gross).”

Meanwhile the Guest Speaker at the meeting, Mr. Mascot Ogunjemiyo, who highlighted the various merger and acquisition cases in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, said mergers, acquisitions and divestments in the industry were capable of promoting efficiency and further drive growth.

Again, Seplat wins PETAN, Frontier, CAMCAN awards

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seplat-logo

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc one of the, leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed both on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, recently won the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria’s (PETAN) 2019 Local Content Operator Award, the Frontier Energy Independent Player in Africa (Leopard) Award and the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) Most Profitable Company in Oil/Gas on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Award for the year.

The PETAN award was presented to the Company at the PETAN Oil Industry Achievement Award dinner held in Lagos. The Award Ceremony had in attendance leading Nigerian oil services companies, international oil companies (IOCs) and their senior executives, policy makers in government and top political leaders, the media, amongst others.

The Operations Director, Seplat Petroleum, Mr. Effiong Okon, who received the award on behalf of the Company, commended the organisers for the recognition and pledged the Company’s strict adherence to global best practices and effective stakeholder engagement.

Also, at the Geological Society in London, Frontier Energy presented Seplat with the “Leopard” Award as the Independent Player in Africa of the Year, which is part of the Big Five Board Awards 2019 ceremony.  As part of the rationale for the award, Frontier Energy noted that 2019 has been a year demonstrating the strength of the company, led by top-class CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru.

Frontier Energy noted that in a climate of fluctuating prices, Seplat has been able to improve the quality of its balance sheet, make new acquisitions and the ongoing development of the Assa North and Ohaji South (ANOH) gas field is a highlight.  Other finalists included Eland Oil & Gas, Lekoil, Far Limited, Chariot Oil & Gas and Africa Energy Corporation. Awarded since 1997 and with over 100 recipients to date, the Big Five Board Awards honour excellence in Africa’s oil and gas game.

In the same vein, the CAMCAN Nigerian Capital Market Performance Awards was aimed at recognising companies that recorded significant feats on the platform of the Nigerian stock Exchange for 2018 was also bestowed on Seplat.

The company also won the Best Indigenous Exhibitor Award at the just concluded 37th Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE)’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

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SEPLAT wins five awards at PEARL, NAPE

Austin Avuru
Austin Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed both on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 Pearl Awards, clinching four awards, which is designed to celebrate excellence and its leadership in the Nigerian capital market.

The company also won the Best Indigenous Exhibitor award at the just concluded 37th Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE)’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

At the PEARL Awards which was attended by regulators, leaders and key stakeholders in the capital market, Seplat achieved the feat of emerging the “PEARL” back-to-back (2018 and 2019), which was a notable feat.

The award was presented to the Seplat’s management by the Chairman of the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, and Ms Mary Uduk, the Acting Director-General of SEC, supported by Dr Farouk Umar, Chairman of the PEARL Awards Board.

Apart from winning the overall PEARL Awards for 2019, SEPLAT also clinched three (3) other awards: Sectoral Awards for the Oil and Gas Segment, Highest Net Ratio Award; and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Austin avuru emerging as the CEO of the Year.

Dr. Umar, the Chairman of the Board of Pearl Awards, in his address, pointed out that the awards was an avenue for encouraging development of the capital market, and praised the Federal Government for supporting the market.

The President of Pearl Awards, Mr. Tayo Orekoya, speaking on the theme of the 2019 edition: “Celebrating Sustainable Leadership & Resilience” said the event was recognising leaders who represent beacons of hope for the capital market.

Orekoya said that on the threshold of a quarter of a century celebrations, PEARL awards has recognised and rewarded over 85 quoted Nigerian companies for outstanding operational and stock performance with eighteen (18) emerging as the overall highest awards winners of the stock market at different times.

He said: “The PEARL Awards remains the only awards in Nigeria that rewards outstanding performance of quoted companies in the Nigerian capital market based on verifiable facts and figures.

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Uduk commended the PEARL Awards team for its legacy of driving excellence and competitiveness in the capital market.

She assured stakeholders of the continued support of the Apex regulator for efforts towards rewarding hardwork, dedication, ingenuity and excellence in the capital market.

Mr. Lijadu, Chairman of the Board of SEC Nigeria, commended Seplat for its strict adherence to good corporate governance ethos, while thanking PEARL Award for evolving for over two decades and remaining consistent in its drive to support the growth of the capital market.

The management of Seplat thanked the organisers of PEARL Awards and NAPE for the recognition and expressed the company’s commitment to global best practices in the oil and gas sector.

SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc Announces Roger Brown As New CEO.

Roger Browncover

Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (“SEPLAT”) has announced that her pioneer Managing Director and later CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru will be retiring in July 2020 after 10 years of leading the company.

In these 10 years, Mr. Avuru led the development of a strong organization, the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the organization to grow rapidly from a gross production of 22,700boepd as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368boepd gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development.

The acquisition of 45% of OML 53, post Company’s IPO of 2014, created an opportunity in partnership with NNPC, to spawn a mid-stream subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company Ltd currently progressing what will ultimately be a 300MMscf/d of Gas, 22,500bdp of condensate and 1,200boepd of LPG processing Company. All these could not have been achieved without Mr. Avuru’s leadership skills, personal dedication and hard work, at the head of the Company.

The Board of SEPLAT is grateful to Mr. Avuru for these accomplishments and is looking forward to his continued service at the Board level.

Looking forward, Seplat plans to position itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, a plan to pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies. The Company believes that such a corporate transition would require a different kind of organizational structure, people skills set and mentality to compete well in the expanded space. In view of this, Seplat will be reviewing its current organizational and systems structure.

To lead the Company in her latest aspirations, the Board has selected Mr. Roger Brown as the successor to Mr. Avuru as CEO, when Mr. Avuru steps down on 31 July 2020. The Board also decided that the CEO designate will lead the restructuring during the Transition period between now and final exit date of Mr. Avuru on 31 July 2020.

Mr. Brown joined SEPLAT in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the Company in 2014.  Similarly, since joining the Company, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the Company.

Mr. Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the Company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board.  He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Mr. Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group.  During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

While we thank Mr. Avuru for a meritorious service, we welcome Mr. Brown and wish him every success in his upcoming new role.