Isabel dos Santos, Board of Member of Unitel/Bloomberg
The daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel amassed a fortune during her father’s almost four-decade rule and has an estimated net worth of about $2 billion.
Wednesday 20, March 2019
(Bloomberg) --Africa’s richest woman secured a fresh mandate as board member of Angola’s biggest telecommunications company when shareholders met Tuesday to discuss corporate governance in the wake of legal action by one of the firm’s biggest investors.
The meeting at Unitel, in which Isabel dos Santos owns 25 per cent stake and has been chairwoman, came after an arbitration court ruled that Brazilian telecommunications company Oi was entitled to receive $654 million from other shareholders. The court said they violated several clauses of an agreement among Unitel shareholders and Oi did not receive dividends it was owed.
Angolan state-owned oil company Sonangol, which owns a 25 per cent stake, has repeatedly said it wants a new board at Unitel, while Oi has publicly expressed its disapproval with management for withholding the dividends.
Unitel shareholders unanimously elected Isabel dos Santos and four other members to the board of the company. Miguel Geraldes, a former senior consultant at Huawei Technologies in South Africa, will replace Antony Dolton as general director of Unitel.
In a statement, Unitel, stated that the new board will take office on 6 May and elect a new chairperson.
Besides Unitel, Isabel dos Santos business interests include media, retail, finance and energy, both in Angola and in Portugal.
President Joao Lourenco, who replaced dos Santos in 2017, has made the battle against graft the cornerstone of his administration, dismantling the influence of his predecessor’s family over key sectors.
“We cannot accept that a single shareholder with 25 per cent stake can take unilateral decisions at the company, we need to reach an agreement to appoint a new board,” says Carlos Saturnino, the Chairman Sonangol.