Noble Group unveils two new senior executives

Noble's recent staff movements follow attacks on the group's accounting policies by corporate whistle-blower Iceberg Research and short-seller Muddy Waters Research, leading to a plunge in its shares. Seen here is chief executive Yusuf Alireza (third
Noble's recent staff movements follow attacks on the group's accounting policies by corporate whistle-blower Iceberg Research and short-seller Muddy Waters Research, leading to a plunge in its shares. Seen here is chief executive Yusuf Alireza (third from far left).PHOTO: REUTERS

Wael Amer is deputy head of Middle East, North and East Africa; Frank Russo is head of internal audit

Commodities trader Noble Group has appointed a new deputy head of Middle East, and North and East Africa, the latest in a string of high-profile staff movements at the company.

Mr Wael Amer will be based in Dubai, and joins Noble from commodities giant Trafigura, where he was head of oil trading for Middle East and East Africa.

His appointment took effect on Wednesday.

The Hong Kong-based commodities group, which has seen the departures of a number of its senior trading staff recently, said Mr Amer will report to chief operating officer of Middle East and Central Asia Raj Kapoor, and global head of oil liquids Jeff Frase.

"Wael will also work closely with chief executive Yusuf Alireza as the key sponsor for building Noble's Middle East and Africa business strategy," Noble said.

Mr Amer's appointment comes on the heels of another executive hire.

Mr Frank Russo, formerly GE Capital's managing director and head of audit for energy, aviation and insurance businesses, was appointed the company's new head of internal audit with effect from Monday .

Mr Russo has more than 24 years of audit, risk and capital management experience.

His appointment comes on the back of attacks on Noble's accounting policies by corporate whistle-blower Iceberg Research and short-seller Muddy Waters Research, which have led to the mainboard-listed firm's shares coming under pressure in recent months.

Separately, news reports earlier this week said that senior US metals traders Scott Evans and Jeff Romanek have left the company.

Both traders were hired as part of the company's recent push into copper, zinc, lead and nickel.

Their exits come as Noble pursues options - including selling its core businesses - to boost market confidence in the wake of the accounting dispute. The moves also underscore challenging market conditions for traders amid languishing commodity prices.

Noble's shares have hit record lows this month, even as its rival and the only other listed commodities merchant, embattled Anglo-Swiss giant Glencore, has in the past few months cut hundreds of jobs in an attempt to reduce costs.

Yesterday, Noble's share price dipped 0.5 cent to close at 40.5 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2015, with the headline 'Noble Group unveils two new senior executives'. Print Edition | Subscribe