Toufik Hakkar CEO of Sonatrach

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Algerian oil group Sonatrach, which accounts for 98% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, appointed Toufik Hakkar, vice-president of business development and marketing, as CEO of the oil company on 5 February.

A longterm Sonatrach employee, Hakkar headed the working group responsible for drafting the new energy law and replaces Kamel Eddine Chikhi, whose reign was short-lived.

Chikhi, appointed on 18 November by the former head of government, Noureddine Bédoui, stepped down after the shortest term of any Sonatrach CEO.

Hakkar holds a doctorate in management and an engineering degree in oil economics and is the twelfth CEO of the state-owned hydrocarbon company since Abdelaziz Bouteflika came to power in 1999.

A street revolution ousted Bouteflika in April 2019.

Since the corruption scandal involving Sonatrach’s top management erupted in January 2010, the company’s image has been tarnished as much by the succession of corruption cases as by the shakiness of its senior management.

New hydrocarbon law
“Hakkar has the skills, experience, and profile to lead Sonatrach,” said a former CEO who wished to remain anonymous. “Let’s hope that the new authorities give him the time and room to work.”