Tribal energy company board seeks directors

James Fenton
The offices of Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Co. are pictured on March 17 along Arizona State Route 264 in St. Michaels, Ariz.

FARMINGTON – The Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company announced Wednesday that it is seeking people to fill three open seats on the company's board of directors.

The seats would ultimately replace "hold-over" directors Lennard Eltsosie, Diandra Benally and Young Jeff Tom.

Pursuant to NNOGC’s bylaws, the Navajo Nation Corporation Code and corporation law, once board directors' terms have expired, they "hold over" until validly replaced or removed, or until they have resigned, according to company officials.

On Feb. 12, Tom, who is also a former Navajo Nation Council delegate, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in official and political matters in connection to a discretionary fund case.

Eltsosie, the company's board chairman, said in a phone interview on Thursday that Tom remains an active board director but declined to comment further.

In a Feb. 3 press release, the company announced that it had seated four new directors on the seven-member board — former NNOGC CEO Wilson Groen, Philip Winner, Janna Blanter and former tribal Division of Economic Development Director Albert Damon Jr.

Benally, who is also the Nominations Committee chair, said in the release that the new hires will strengthen the board.

“We are excited to welcome four new directors who meet and exceed the company’s new requirements,” said Benally said in the release. “Collectively, the new Board of Directors possess decades of experience leading and advising oil and gas companies as well as specialized expertise that will be invaluable to NNOGC.”

Candidates must be enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, have "substantial" knowledge of the oil and gas industry, hold at least a bachelor's degree and consent to a background check. They also should have expertise in business areas, including corporate finance, accounting, economics, law, business management, engineering and geology.

People interested in applying to become a "hold-over" member of the board can send a letter of interest, résumé, list of three professional references, a completed and signed background consent form with proof of Navajo Nation enrollment, and conflict-of-interest disclosure form by 4 p.m. Monday, May 16 to be considered. Send submissions to NNOGC Attn: Nominations Committee, PO Box 4439, Window Rock, Ariz. 86515. For more information, call Dianne Nakai at 928-871-4880.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.