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Rigzone: Shell Hires McFadyen as Global HSE Director

Kieron McFadyen Shell 

By  Paul Rogerson, Newsquest Media Group
The Herald (Scotland) 9/11/2006


Kieron McFadyen, a Glaswegian who left school at 15 with no qualifications, has been appointed to the newly created position of global health and safety chief by energy group Royal Dutch Shell.

The 45-year-old’s new job was announced yesterday in an internal e-mail to staff and partly reflects the increasing importance of health, safety and environmental (HSE) matters to the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.

McFadyen is currently European technical director for Shell Exploration and Production, a post he has held since 2003.

Born in Drumchapel in 1960, he left school at 15, later returning to education and attaining a first class engineering degree at Glasgow University. He joined Shell in 1985 as a trainee petroleum engineer and rose to a succession of senior roles, several overseas.

McFadyen will be moving from Aberdeen to The Hague to take on the new role. The firm told staff that the post “reinforces Shell’s commitment to improve our global HSE performance”, though it will not be a main board position.

“Kieron is the obvious candidate for this role; he has significant business and operational experience on a global level and his work to progress safety in the North Sea will be continued at a group level, ” the company said. “HSE is Shell’s main priority in all our operations.”

Aspokeswoman said McFadyen is the first single individual to take overarching responsibility for Shell’s HSE performance worldwide. He will certainly be working in the media and management spotlight. In July an internal e-mail revealed that top management at Shell believed the company has a second-rate safety record in the North Sea and had failed to tackle the problem because parts of the organisation were in denial.

An accident inquiry report published in July into two deaths on the Brent Bravo platform in 2003 seriously criticised the company.

That communication to staff came from Jeroen van derVeer, Shell’s chief executive. He said: “Our safety performance has reached a plateau – and remains below best of class in our industry. Our statistics show it. We know it. Are we not trying hard enough, focusing hard enough or haven’t we accepted that we have a problem? I think it’s a mixture. All these problems are probably part and parcel of the safety problem.”

He added: “I ask you to ask yourself – are you aware of what more you can do, and when you can and must intervene? And are you clear on how to do this before something goes wrong in operations around you? Have you been learning from past mistakes?”

McFadyen’s successor in his current post will be John Gallagher, another Scot, who is currently west asset manager for the Gulf of Mexico. Gallagher was previously Aberdeen-based development manager for the Shell North Sea Northern Business Unit, which comprised Brent and other northern North Sea fields in the East Shetland basin.

“John’s operational and technical experience means he is well placed to understand the challenges and opportunities of the European oil and gas industry, ” the company said.

Shell is not alone in facing growing scrutiny over its health and safety practices. In August, Lord Browne, BP’s chief executive, was told by a US judge that he would have to personally testify in death and injuries cases resulting from the Texas City refinery fire last year.

(C) 2006 The Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved


Kieron McFadyen was appointed Technical Director – Europe on 1 October 2003 and is Shell’s senior upstream representative in the U.K on the Board of Shell U.K. He is also a member of PILOT, the Industry Leadership Team and a Board member of the UK Offshore Operators Association.

Born in Scotland in 1960, Kieron joined Shell in 1985, after completing a degree in Engineering from the University of Glasgow. His first posting was to Oman where he worked as a Wellsite Petroleum Engineer before completing a two year assignment on the Oman Drilling and Petroleum Engineering Team.

Following two years in Technology Development in The Hague, Kieron moved to Shell’s Downstream organisation and his subsequent experience in the commercial arena sparked a long-term interest in the gas business.

From 1996 – 2002, Kieron held a series of posts in Sarawak, Malaysia (as Chief Petroleum Engineer), The Hague (in Acquisitions & Divestments), Nigeria (as Regional Business Advisor) and Assen in the Netherlands (as Commercial and Planning Director).

In August 2002, Kieron returned to The Hague as Vice President Europe with the key task of supporting the development of Shell E&P’s new European organisation.

His current Technical Directorate is responsible for the delivery of EP Europe’s Technical programme: wells, development of new and existing reservoirs, major project delivery and technology development.

Kieron is married to Margaret and has three sons. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

3 Comments on “Rigzone: Shell Hires McFadyen as Global HSE Director”

    on Oct 6th, 2007 at 16:19

    Being a part of another company’s global quest for improving safety performance and having been an admirer (not follower) of Shell’s practices in this challenging field, I wish you best of luck. My suggestion will be build a positive safety culture with a balanced approach that integrates technical aspects of safety with people processes. Safety engineering, process safety, asset integrity, bahavioural safety, management systems, governance, assurance etc. all have to be nurtured by safety leadership of the company at all levels. We all have to and live safety every moment of our life if we have to reach our goal of business excellence where incidents and injuries become a past. Passion with application of knowledge and hard work will take us there.
    All the best Mr. McFadyen

    on Aug 5th, 2007 at 19:06

    sir,i wanted to joined your company,i hope you giive me a change.

    on Jun 13th, 2007 at 10:00

    Congratulation to kieron and wishing him to achieve the hse milestone
    better than before.
    integrated platform 2001-2005.At present doing MSc in ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND WORKING AS HSE AUDITOR@ CONSULTANT.

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