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Former Shell Leader to Speak at KU

Friday, October 2, 2009

Linda Cook, 1980 petroleum engineering alumna and former executive with Royal Dutch Shell
A former world energy leader and University of Kansas alumna will speak with students about energy and the environment in October.

Linda Cook, former executive director of Natural Gas & Power for Royal Dutch Shell plc., will deliver the KU School of Engineering Distinguished Lecture at 4 p.m., Oct. 9, in the Spahr Engineering Classroom, 2 Eaton Hall. The event is free and open to the public.


The talk will focus on energy and the environment, as well as touch on career development. Cook plans to give an assessment of energy demand in light of the growing economies in China and India, and discuss “the need for engineers to help the whole world move forward with the energy challenge,” she said.


“I’m hoping we’ll get into a lot of Q&A.”


Cook, who earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from KU in 1980, joined Shell upon graduation and worked her way up the corporate ladder to eventually be a member of Shell’s Executive Committee and its Board of Directors. As a leader in the male-dominated field of oil and gas production, she appeared on Forbes Magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the World several times. 


Cook said that as a KU student she never anticipated being in the top ranks of management.


“I never, at an early age, aspired to be on the board of a major organization. … For me it was always one step at a time,” Cook said. She quickly added she never thought she couldn’t or wouldn’t be capable of that level of leadership.


Before becoming a director for Royal Dutch in 2004, Cook was chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Shell Canada Ltd. since August 2003. Shell Canada’s main activities include oil and natural gas exploration and production, oil sands mining, oil refining and retail sales. Prior to that she was based in London as CEO of Shell Gas & Power since 2000. Linda spent the first 20 years of her Shell career in various positions in Exploration & Production in the United States and the Netherlands.


Cook, a Shawnee, Kan., native, retired from Shell in 2009 and has served on the Boeing Company Board of Directors since 2003. She is a Trustee for KU Endowment and a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the China Development Forum. Cook received the Distinguished Engineering Service Award from the KU School of Engineering In 2007.

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