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UPDATE 2-Shell gas boss steps down after losing CEO race
May 26, 2009 / 7:43 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 2-Shell gas boss steps down after losing CEO race

(Adds detail on Shell’s possible consolidation, paras 5-7)

By Tom Bergin

LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said Linda Cook was stepping down as head of the oil group’s gas and power division, after she lost out in the race to become Shell’s new chief executive.

The world’s second-largest non-government controlled oil company by market value said in a statement on Tuesday that Cook, 50, would resign as a director on June 1 after 29 years with the company.

The decision was by mutual agreement, a spokesman said.

The move likely reflects the desire of the incoming CEO, Peter Voser, the current chief financial officer, to shape a new team, dealers said.

Shell is broadly divided into three divisions -- exploration and production; gas and power; and downstream -- and Cook’s departure makes it more likely that the structure could be consolidated by Voser into two divisions, analysts have said.

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that exploration and production was likely to be merged with gas and power into a single unit once the new structure is unveiled.

Such an integration would mirror a similar move by rival British Petroleum in the past two years, the paper said.

Around half of Shell’s hydrocarbon output comes from gas and Cook’s role was to help bring this to market, overseeing major projects to liquefy the gas, the group’s gas shipping unit and Shell’s large trading operation.

The Kansas-born petroleum engineer previously headed Shell’s Canadian subsidiary and is a non-executive director at jet maker Boeing Co (BA.N). She regularly appeared in business publications’ lists of the most powerful women in business.

“I am most grateful to Linda Cook for her many important contributions to the success of our company. Shell’s LNG capacity has risen by over 60 percent in the last five years,” Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is gas cooled to liquid so it can be transported long distances in special ships. It has been one of the fastest growing energy products in recent years. (Editing by David Holmes and Jon Boyle)

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