Premier Oil and Chrysaor Holdings’ reverse merger will double the number of women holding the top job at London-listed oil and gas companies. To two.
Linda Cook, an America-born executive who was once in line to head Royal Dutch Shell, will become chief executive officer (CEO) of the combined group, which will be the largest UK North Sea oil and gas producer. She joins Katherine Roe, the CEO of Tanzania-focused Wentworth Resources, as the only two women to lead London-listed exploration and production companies.
Cook is currently on Chrysaor’s board and heads its private equity backer Harbour Energy While there are some notable examples of women leading oil companies further afield, such as Occidental Petroleum’s Vicki Hollub, they remain a rarity. Women make up only 15 per cent of the oil and gas workforce, according to research from consultant McKinsey last year.
Although an overwhelming proportion of men isn’t unique to the energy industry, the sector was second-to-last in female executives at the C-suite level, according to the report.
Chrysaor’s current CEO, Phil Kirk, will become president of the new company and CEO for Europe, while Premier’s chief Tony Durant will step down at the end of the year. Chrysaor, a North Sea-focused business founded in 2007, made a big splash in the region in 2017 when it paid $3 billion for a package of assets from Royal Dutch Shell . The company, backed by private equity firm Harbour Energy Ltd., has since become the No. 1 oil and gas producer in Britain, having bought assets from Spirit Energy in 2018, as well as ConocoPhillips’s UK division.