Menas Associates has repeatedly advocated that, in the best interests of both Sonatrach and the national economy, Sonatrach’s CEO, Toufik Hakkar, should be dismissed (Algeria Politics & Security – 25.07.23). We can confirm that that has now happened. The announcement of his dismissal by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was made on Monday 2 October. Initially, there were reports that Hakkar was denying that he had been sacked but it was subsequently confirmed by the state-owned Algerian Press Service (APS) and several reliable sources. Hakkar, who had been in office since February 2020, has now been officially relieved of his functions and dismissed after more than three and a half years of mismanagement and scandalous conduct in the affairs of the Sonatrach group.
Rachid Hachichi, who served as Sonatrach’s CEO between April and November 2019, has been appointed by Tebboune to replace Hakkar.
We do not yet know if Hakkar’s dismissal has anything to do with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s extraordinary presidential decree of 26 September (see Politics), which we have described as a constitutional coup d’état but would be surprised if the two announcements were entirely coincidental.
Abdou Semmar, one of the regime’s main critics, described Hakkar’s sacking as ‘finally being a burst of honour from Tebboune.’ Hakkar should have been dismissed long ago because his corrupt management has severely damaged the corporation and the national economy. His departure will be greeted with immense relief by most of Sonatrach’s senior executives.
Rachid Hachichi will be seen as an experienced and safe pair of hands. According to his initial statements, he intends to prioritise meeting the country’s fuel needs and increasing hydrocarbon exports. He indicated that, to achieve these objectives, he will focus on strengthening exploration, pipeline capacity, ships, and marketing efforts.
The reasons for Hakkar’s dismissal were not specified by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Nor are they likely to be made public, because his dealings were invariably deeply corrupt and linked to other senior members of the regime. He was at the head of massive scandals that have yet to be exposed.
Algeria Politics & Security will provide a more detailed explanation and analysis next week.This excerpt is taken from our Algeria Politics & Security weekly intelligence report. Click here to receive a free sample copy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for subscription details.