Africa E&P veteran John Bentley has been appointed as chairman of Zimbabwe-focused wildcatter Invictus Energy and is joined on the junior player’s board by Robin Sutherland, another highly experienced Africa hand and former colleague.
Starting his job as non-executive chairman today, Bentley replaces Stuart Lake who stepped down late last year for personal reasons, while Sutherland is a non-executive director.
Bentley is well-known in African E&P circles, having been chief executive of South African player Engen in the early 1990s, before quitting in 1996 to set up Cape Town-based Energy Africa, a company that Sutherland joined a year later.
While Bentley led Energy Africa until just before it was gobbled up by Tullow Oil nearly 20 years ago in a $500 million deal, Sutherland stayed on, eventually becoming Tullow’s head of African exploration in 2015, leaving five years later to set up a consultancy.
Bentley has held executive and board roles in numerous E&P companies — mostly in Africa — including Vanco Energy, FirstAfrica Oil, Rift Oil, Caracal Energy, Wentworth Resources and Africa Energy Corporation, a stakeholder in the TotalEnergies’ play opening Brulpadda and Luiperd discoveries offshore South Africa.
Invictus managing director Scott Macmillan said the track records of both Bentley and Sutherland will be vital to a company which has just completed a debut wildcat in northern Zimbabwe that has established the presence of a working petroleum system.