Just days before Women’s History Month comes to an end, two oil giants issued big announcements in the world of women and energy.
First, BP announced the appointment of the first-ever female head of its Americas business. Then, on Monday, news broke that Shell is naming a woman to lead its U.S. arm.
We are beyond thrilled for these accomplished women — and for the companies that have chosen to elevate them. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Companies that embrace inclusion — especially at the top — are stronger and more profitable than their less diverse counterparts. In today’s global economic climate, we can’t afford anything less.
As our founder, Katie Mehnert, told the Houston Business Journal after the news broke: "There are a lot of things happening in this state around women in business. Companies are getting pressure from investors, stakeholders and, quite frankly, their workforces. Nobody wants to work where they don't feel included or valued."
So, who are these women?
Susan Dio is the new chair and president of BP America Inc. She’s a 33-year veteran of BP and heritage companies and has worked in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Prior to her new role, she was the CEO of BP Shipping, where she oversaw the “review and reset” of strategy and operations, as well as the ongoing renewal of the fleet, according to the Houston Business Journal.
“Susan’s breadth of operational and commercial experience gained with BP around the world — including leading our global shipping business, running a major refinery, and managing a chemical plant — make her ideally suited for the key role of representing BP in the U.S.,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement.
At Shell, Gretchen Watkins is set to become president of the company’s U.S. arm. She comes to Shell after serving as both COO and CEO of Maersk Oil. She left that company in September, after Maersk Oil was acquired by Total, according to World Oil.
“This has been a difficult decision for me,” Watkins said in a statement at the time she left Maersk Oil. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way Maersk Oil has successfully navigated what I believe will come to be judged as historically challenging conditions for the industry, emerging as a high performing business. I remain firmly committed to leading the safe and successful delivery of our business performance until deal closure, alongside overseeing a smooth pre-integration process, as we take the business into new ownership."
In addition to BP and Shell, CGG, a geoscience company serving the global oil and gas industry, announced it was appointing a female CEO: Sophie Zurquiyah joined CGG in 2013 after 22 years in the oilfield services industry, working for Schlumberger in global executive positions ranging from business, operations, functional to technology.