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Shell’s queen of the gas fields

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Shell’s queen of the gas fields

Published: July 9 2008 03:00 | Last updated: July 9 2008 03:00

In what now appears to be a two-horse race for the chief executive’s job at Royal Dutch Shell, Linda Cook has some advantages over her leading rival Malcolm Brinded, head of exploration and production.

As head of gas and power, she is in charge of Shell’s world-leading business in liquefied natural gas, one of its big hopes for the future. Born in Kansas in 1958, she is 50, five years younger than Mr Brinded, which may help. In an industry chronically short of talent and desperate to attract more women, her appointment as the first female boss of a big oil company would send a powerful signal.

In a previous FT interview, she contemplated whether she was a token woman. “Do I think there might be people in the company who think that somewhere along the way I got a promotion because of my gender? I can’t deny that that might be the case. How could that not bother you? But I don’t waste a lot of time worrying about it.”

Ms Cook graduated with degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Kansas and joined Shell Oil in 1980 as a reservoir engineer. She has come a long way since a foreman barred her entry to an oil rig for being a woman. She became chief executive of Shell Gas & Power in 2000 and joined the main board in 2004.

Her husband Steve takes care of the home and their three children.

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