Danakali Ltd (ASX:DNK) (OTCMKTS:SBMSF) (LON:DNK) (FRA:SO3) is restructuring its board, which will see the appointment of an executive chairman and a reduction in board size. 

The current non-executive chairman Seamus Cornelius will take over as executive chairman.

As part of the restructure of roles and responsibilities to increase efficiencies and reduce operating costs, the role of the chief executive officer, held by Niels Wage, has been made redundant. 

His responsibilities will be assumed by the executive chairman, with support from other team members.

Further, the basic board fee will be slashed by 33% with immediate effect for all board members and the board size will be cut at the annual general meeting in the second quarter of 2021. 

Progress through final funding phase

Danakali executive chairman Seamus Cornelius said: “I am honoured to be asked by the board to serve as executive chairman.

“I look forward to further serving our shareholders and continuing to work closely with our partners ENAMCO as we progress the [Colluli] project through the final funding phase and into production, delivering long-term value for all stakeholders.

“Niels’ contributions to Danakali and successes as CEO, have enabled CMSC and Danakali to progress the development of Colluli to the position it is today.

“On behalf of the board, I extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Niels for his significant contribution to Danakali during what has been an extraordinary period for the global economy.

“Niels’ professionalism and work ethic served the company very well while we faced the many challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and will surely stand Niels in good stead as he pursues his next opportunity. ”

New executive chairman

Cornelius was appointed as non-executive chairman on July 15, 2013, and acted in the role of executive chairman from June 14, 2018, to June 25, 2019.

A corporate lawyer and former partner of one of Australia’s leading law firms, Cornelius has a high degree of expertise in cross-border transactions, particularly in the resources and finance sectors.

He is a member of the company’s audit and risk committee, remuneration and nomination committee.

He is also the chairman of the Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC), the 50:50 joint venture between Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO), which owns 100% of the Colluli Potash Project in Eritrea.

Cornelius will be entitled to additional remuneration in respect of the executive duties to be performed as part of his new role.

The remuneration package is in the process of being approved and the company will update the market of the material terms once finalised.

Chief executive role made redundant

Wage joined Danakali in June 2018 as chief commercial officer before assuming the role of CEO in March 2019.

During his tenure, Wage led the company through the signing of documentation for the US$200 million senior debt facility for CMSC from African Export-Import Bank and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and the US$21.5 million equity investment from AFC.

Wage also oversaw the commencement of the development of the project, including the completion of EPCM Phases 1 and 2.

He will support an orderly transition of his responsibilities and intends to pursue other opportunities.