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CLIVE MATHER: Age: 57 President and CEO Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary

Financial Post (Canada): ‘Have running shoes, will travel’ is CEO’s business trip motto

Posted 22 May 2005


CLIVE MATHER: Age: 57 President and CEO Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary


Business “An integrated oil company on the move … we’re responding to a lot of very favourable stimuli in the environment; the biggest is the oilsands.”


Where do you travel on company business? “I typically do a lot of travel in Canada. That’s partially because I’m new here and I absolutely love the country, but I’ve also been trying very hard to get around and see our operations and meet key stakeholders.”


How important are these meetings to your business? “Most things that matter are still dealt face-to-face in my experience. E-mail, pagers, BlackBerrys — it’s a fantastically connected world … but that’s not what creates big deals, that’s not what gets you through regulatory approvals, that’s not what gets you support from society.”


How much travelling do you do each year? “I’m on the road an average of three days a week.”


What is your biggest issue when travelling? “I always think that the London night flight is the killer. We set off from here at supper time, and you arrive a few hours later, and after a shower you’re in the office.”


How do you deal with that? “I don’t eat [on the plane], I drink water and sleep … Within two seconds of the plane having the wheels off the runway, I’ve got the eye patches on and the earplugs [in], and I’m away. I figure out the way to do it is to just relax … before you know it they are waking you up for breakfast.”


What type of schedule or activity do you attempt to maintain on the road? “It’s always tougher going east because your days are shortened and you find you can’t sleep when everybody else is. Physical exercise at least gets you tired enough to get a bit of rest. Otherwise you get very ragged.”


What are the essentials when travelling? “Have running shoes, will travel. I enjoy jogging outside. You meet wonderful people when you jog. And I like to take my wife when I can. [But] she’s got her own life, so it isn’t always easy.”


How do you stay connected? I gave up a BlackBerry. I used to have one. I found that I had become a slave. It beeped and I jumped. I will always do e-mail in the morning and at night [using a laptop computer] then I just have my cellphone. If people need to reach me and it’s urgent then they can ring me on that.”


What makes you a road warrior? “To be honest [travel] is why I joined Shell in the ’60s. I had this wonderful challenge in myself to go see the world and that challenge has never gone away.”


Where are you off to next? “I’m off to the oilsands. Then I’m off to Korea. Then I know we’ve got a meeting in Houston, then I’ve got a trip to London.”


Any tips for other business travellers? “Make sure you make quality time in your life [for relationships]. It really is essential, not only to your own personal career, but your own personal happiness.”


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