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The Scotsman: Cook joins Shell’s MD team to free Brinded for E&P role

The Scotsman: Cook joins Shell’s MD team to free Brinded for E&P role



Wed 19 May 2004

SHELL yesterday announced that the female chief executive of Shell Canada is to take control of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant’s gas and power operations in the latest major boardroom change following a spate of sackings.

The appointment of Linda Cook as a new managing director at Shell, subject to shareholder approval at a meeting on 28 June, is meant to free up Malcolm Brinded, the current boss of gas and power, to focus exclusively on the core exploration and production division.

It is E&P that is at the heart of a regulatory investigation into the 20 per cent overstatement of the group’s “proven” oil reserves that has already claimed three scalps at the summit of Shell.

Brinded took over his dual role when chairman Sir Philip Watts and previous E&P chief, Walter van de Vijver, were forced out of Shell in March in the wake of the reserves debacle.

Shell’s chief financial officer, Judy Boynton, was also forced to step down.

Cook is a previous head of gas and power at Shell, appointed in 2000, but moving to Canada last year to head up Shell’s whole operation there.

Her appointment will take the number of executives on Shell’s committee of managing directors, the top executive grouping in Shell’s twin-holding hierarchy, from three to four.

The other members are Jeroen van der Veer – who as chairman of the CMD is now the company’s top executive following Watts’s departure – Brinded, and Rob Routs, head of refining and marketing and chemicals.

Cook joined the firm in 1980. It is unclear how the City will react to her appointment given that some investors had hoped for new blood from outside the group.

American-born Cook, aged 45, is a veteran of the gas and power sector she is returning to, but signed on as head of Shell Canada Ltd last July, making headlines as the first woman to head a major oil company in the country.

She was hand-picked by Watts, now disgraced as the man who headed the company into its reserves crisis, to run 78 per cent-owned Shell Canada.

At Shell Canada’s annual meeting in Calgary last month, Cook said: “It will take years to restore our reputation to the place that we think it should be and where we would all want it to be.”

Clive Mather, chairman of Shell UK, will replace Cook as CEO in Canada.

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