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Engineering Alumna Named One of the World’s Top Power Players

Friday, October 10, 2008

[KU Alumna and Shell executive Linda Cook]

Jayhawks are on top of the world when it comes to business and industry. Two University of Kansas graduates are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the International Power 50, Fortune magazine’s new listing of the most powerful business women on the planet.

Linda Cook, a KU petroleum engineering alumna and Shawnee native, is ranked No. 3 on the Fortune list. After graduating from KU in 1980, Cook was hired by Shell to an entry level engineering position and is now executive director of gas and power for Royal Dutch Shell. “Already the highest-ranking woman at the world’s second-largest energy company, she is a favorite to take over as CEO next year. That would make Shell the first oil major to have a woman chief executive and the largest company in the world in any industry to be led by one,” says Fortune.

At No. 1 is Cynthia Carroll, who earned her master’s degree in geology at KU in 1982 before earning a master’s of business administration at Harvard University. As CEO of Anglo American, she runs one of the world’s largest independent mining companies.

Carroll is scheduled to return to KU this fall to meet with students in the School of Business and present a public lecture. Her presentation, “The Role and Responsibility of the Multi-National Corporation,” is set for 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the Spencer Museum of Art auditorium. Her visit is sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities, and co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the Department of Geology and the School of Business. While here she also will be awarded the Haworth Award from the Department of Geology.

Earlier this year, Forbes magazine also ranked Carroll and Cook among its list of most powerful women in the world, which includes women in government. Carroll placed fifth, and Cook placed 43rd. KU alumna Sheila Bair, chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, was No. 2 on the Forbes list.

Cook and Bair both spoke on the KU campus last year.

Story by University Relations

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