TOP 10 PERCEPTION MANAGERS 2024 – Olufemi Soneye

Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer (NNPCL)

Managing the reputation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), the largest oil company in Africa, is not a tea party. The task becomes even more challenging at the time the company is undergoing corporate renewal – converting from a government-owned corporation to a private commercial company. This reality is not lost on the management of the company. That is why the management searched for one of the best corporate communicators the profession had to offer to replace GarbaDeen Mohammad, NNPCL’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer (CCCO), who had just retired from services of the company.

They found one in OlufemiSoneye, a seasoned journalist with full-time and freelance experiences at some of the world’s most respected publications in Nigeria, Australia, and the United States of America. Until his appointment, Soneye was the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Per Second News from 2012 where he was responsible for the commercial strategy of the Per Second News, Communications and the Mount Olive group.

As the image maker of NNPC Ltd, Soneye has been developing and implementing communication strategies and plans; creating and managing content for various communication channels; monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of communication activities.

Soneye’s proven skills of excellent written and verbal communication traits as well as personal attributes, exceptional attention to details, ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, strong interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate with others are his forte.

His incisive reports on the sector, particularly the activities of the NNPCL, have contributed to the overall communication effort by the NNPCL, thus providing Nigerians with clear insight into some developments in the NNPCL

The former President of the Nigerian Media Practitioners, Washington, D.C. whose appointment as NNPC Ltd’s CCCO became effective October 18, 2022, has been able to lead the Company’s Corporate Communications team, driving its brand penetration, strategic communications initiatives, and stakeholder management.

He has been very passionate about effective communication of the operations of the NNPCL to generate public confidence and trust in the entity. Little wonder, with only a few months in office, the impact of Soneye’s management of the reputation of NNPC Ltd has been acknowledged beyond the precincts of the company. Recently, he won the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) 2024 “Distinguished spokesperson in the Oil and Gas Sector award.” NIPR predicated the award on the “recognition of his amazing work of managing the image of Africa’s largest oil and gas company.”

Soneye who dedicated the award to “the whole team” said it would serve as motivation to continue striving for excellence in representing NNPC Ltd, the sector and upholding the highest standards of communications.”

 A cosmopolitan Nigerian of Ijebu, Ogun State extraction, Soneye has, over the years, built a network of friends across the socio-economic and political landscape of the country.

He graduated from the Mclay College, Sydney, NSW, Australia in 2000 and went on to acquire a Diploma in International Studies at the prestigious Montgomery College Rockville, Maryland, USA between 2005-2006.

Between 2008 and 2010, Soneye got certification in Health and Applied Sciences at the Community College of the Air Force. He has attended about 12 career advancement programmes including 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, UK in 2018; IAPP Data Protection Conference Paris, France (2018); Leadership, IP, and Innovation Conference, Brussels, Belgium (2018); Strategic Management in Public Service in IDKA, Italy (2014) and Strategic Intelligence Analytics, Canary Wharf, London among others.

Soneye’s career as a reporter started in 1999 at the Independent Sports Weekly, Apapa, Lagos, and later, Leaders Newspapers- Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia, in 2000 where he worked part-time as a reporter. In 2007, Soneye worked as the Business Sales Manager of Comcast Cable Communications, Maryland, U.SA. and served in the United States Air Force, Joint Base Andrews, Washington-DC between 2009 to 2015. Specifically, he was at the Health Services Management Officer of the 459th Aerospace Medicine Squadron where he became the Editor of the squadron’s Air Force One Newsletter of the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, between 2009 and 2013 where he was providing guidelines to authors for preparing and submitting manuscripts.

Before relocating to Nigeria over a decade ago, he had produced articles and writings that were well-researched and informed, with the intention of bolstering corporate governance of government and private enterprises as well as companies, in order to improve their capacity to serve the public and remain solvent. These contributions aimed to promote nation-building and enhance the quality of good governance.

Back in Nigeria, Soneye engaged in investigative journalism, economic reporting, and maritime sector coverage. He has also provided coverage for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) prior to its transformation into a full-fledged CAMA company, and the maritime industry.

Soneye has also functioned as a media consultant for numerous institutions, corporations, and government entities, assisting them in the development of initiatives that bolster their capabilities to fulfil their mandates.

A foundation member of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Soneye is also a member of reputable professional bodies including the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the National Association of Black Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists.