Linda Cook, 1980 petroleum engineering alumna from the University of Kansas, has been named one of The Wall Street Journal's "50 Women to Watch - 2005." Cook, who is executive director of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, was among a blue-ribbon group of women in government and industry that included the likes of media giant Oprah Winfrey, German Chancellor-designate Angela Merkel, and Margaret Whitman, president and CEO of eBay.
The Oct. 31 special section featured a profile of Cook, who runs Shell's natural gas and power operations, by reporter Chip Cummins. Cook was credited with solidifying several major natural gas deals in recent months and helping the energy giant scramble past its accounting predicament of 2004.
Cook has been with Shell since earning her bachelor's degree from KU. She's held several positions that have steadily brought her forward in the male-dominated oil industry. In 2000, Cook was placed in charge of Shell Power and Gas in London. In 2001, Cook was named one of Fortune Magazine's 50 most powerful businesswomen outside the United States. In 2003, she was named president and CEO of Shell Canada. She also was appointed to the Boeing Company Board of Directors. Cook returned to KU in 2003 to deliver a lecture on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Tumult from Shell's 2004 accounting setback helped propel Cook to the company's inner circle. She was appointed a managing director of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, became a group managing director and resumed her role as CEO for Shell Gas & Power.