International Oil Company, Total, has appointed the first female Managing Director to run its Nigerian operations.

The company, in a statement on Friday, named Mrs. Elisabeth Proust as the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Total upstream companies in Nigeria consisting of Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited and several other subsidiaries.

The statement said Proust would also double as the Total Group representative in Nigeria, adding that the appointment had taken effect from Wednesday, February 12, 2014.

“In her new position, she becomes the first female managing director in the over 50 years’ history of the company in Nigeria. Proust succeeds Mr. Guy Maurice, who has been assigned to other duties in the Total Group,” the statement said.

The Upstream President, Total SA, Yves-Louis Darricarrere, who commented on the appointment, said, “We have a great confidence in the ability of Mrs. Proust to steer the ship of the upstream companies in Nigeria at this critical period in the Group’s activities in the country.”

Proust arrived in Nigeria with over 34 years of extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, according to Darricarrere.

Proust is a 1979 graduate of Mechanics and Marine Hydrodynamics from the Mechanical Engineering School in Central Nantes, France. She also has a degree in Petroleum Engineering from the French Petroleum Institute, Paris, both in France.

She joined Elf in 1980 and started her career with 10 years of hands-on experience as a driller.

The statement said, “Proust has held key technical and managerial positions in exploration and production in various Total subsidiaries in France, Cameroun, Brazil, Angola, the Netherlands and Russia. Between 2004 and 2008, she was Vice-President, Development Engineering and Head of Petroleum Engineering Competence for Total worldwide.”

In December 2008, Proust was appointed President and Managing Director, Total E&P Indonesia. She was also the chief executive for 15 other Total companies in Indonesia and the Total Group representative for the refining/chemicals and marketing divisions.

“Proust was the President, Oil and Gas Association of Indonesia, the first woman to hold such a position in the country. She served in this capacity until her current posting to Nigeria,” the statement added.