A University of Kansas petroleum engineering graduate is among the world's 100 most powerful women, according to a recent issue of Forbes magazine.
Linda Zarda Cook, a Shawnee native who earned a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from KU in 1980, appears as 44th on the list. Now the executive director of gas and power for Royal Dutch Shell, Cook is in the running to become CEO of the company in 2009, which would make her the first woman to lead an international oil company, Forbes reported.
As an executive director and member of the board of Royal Dutch Shell plc, she is responsible for Shell's global Gas & Power business. She also is responsible for the Renewable Energy and Hydrogen businesses as well as Shell Global Solutions. In addition, Cook serves as regional managing director for Shell's activities in the Asia Pacific region.
Cook joined Shell's Exploration & Production business in 1980 in Houston as a petroleum engineer. After a variety of technical and managerial appointments, she became a member of Royal Dutch Shell's global E&P; leadership team based in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1998, with responsibility for strategy and business development. In 2001, Cook was named CEO of Shell's London-based Gas & Power business.
In 2003, Cook was appointed director, president and CEO of Shell Canada Ltd. and moved to Calgary, Canada. She was responsible for running one of Canada's largest publicly traded companies. In mid 2004, Cook was named executive director for Royal Dutch Petroleum and returned to the Netherlands in her current capacity.
She is a member of the China Development Forum, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the board of directors for the Boeing Co.
Forbes' list is led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and includes another KU alumna, Cynthia Carroll, who earned a master's degree in geology in 1982 and heads Anglo American, one of the world's largest independent mining companies. The complete list is on the
Forbes Web site.