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Linda Zarda Cook

Executive director, Royal Dutch Shell plc
2007 DESA Recipient
Primary office:



  • B.S., Petroleum Engineering, 1980

Linda Zarda Cook rose through the ranks in an industry dominated by men to become one of the top executives in one of the top energy companies in the world.

As an executive director and member of the board of Royal Dutch Shell plc, she is responsible for Shell's global Gas & Power business, for the Renewable Energy and Hydrogen businesses as well as Shell Global Solutions. Cook also serves as regional managing director for Shell's activities in the Asia Pacific region.

Cook joined Shell's Exploration & Production business in Houston as a petroleum engineer in 1980 after graduating from KU. In 1998, 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 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. In mid 2004, Cook was named executive director for Royal Dutch Petroleum and returned to the Netherlands in her current capacity.

Cook is routinely recognized as one of the most powerful women executives in the world. She has developed a reputation as a leader who generates respect and wins strong performance, while also presenting Shell's softer side: a commitment to sustainable development and responsible interaction with a variety of stakeholders.

Cook is a member of the China Development Forum, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the board of directors for the Boeing Company. She and her husband, Steven, reside in the Netherlands. They have three children.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times