News / World

Angola leader removes dos Santos daughter as oil firm chair

JOHANNESBURG — Angola's new leader has removed the daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos as chair of the state-owned oil company, the government announced Wednesday, in a surprise move that appeared to assert independence from one of Africa's longest-ruling families.

President Joao Lourenco removed Isabel dos Santos as chair of the board of directors of Sonangol and replaced her with Carlos Saturnino, secretary of state for oil, local news outlet Angop reported, citing a statement from the presidency.

Isabel dos Santos has been reported to be Africa's richest woman.

Dos Santos was appointed about 18 months ago by her father to head Sonangol, where she led an efficiency drive after the continent's third-largest economy was rocked by low commodity prices.

Angola vies with Nigeria as Africa's top oil producer, with companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP pumping from deep-water offshore wells.

Lourenco also removed seven other Sonangol board members and appointed eight replacements, Angop reported.

He won election In August after the elder dos Santos stepped down from a rule that began in 1979. The former defence minister has been expected to largely follow dos Santos' lead.

Isabel dos Santos also has interests in mobile phones and banks across Angola and former colonial ruler Portugal.

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