Equinor promotes more women in top management overhaul

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian oil major Equinor EQNR.OL is promoting more women to its top leadership team, including the head of a new digital technology division, while cutting the group's overall number of senior executives, it said on Monday.

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It is the first corporate reshuffle by Chief Executive Anders Opedal, who took the helm of the state-controlled firm on Nov. 2.

The new executive committee will have 11 members, down from 12 previously, while the number of women rises to five from three, addressing a frequent criticism in Norway of a lack of gender balance at the country’s largest company.

“The changes in the corporate executive committee team reflect a good mix of continuity and renewal, diversity and experience from across Equinor and the industry,” Opedal said in a statement.

The CEO has promised to speed up Equinor’s investments in wind power and solar energy and has raised its targets for cutting carbon emissions while maintaining plans to increase annual oil and gas production until 2026.

The existing New Energy Solutions division will be renamed Renewables, with results reported from the first quarter of 2021.

Technology, Digital & Innovation (TDI) will become a separate unit seen as fundamental to improving safety, increasing value creation, reducing emissions and developing low carbon solutions, Equinor said.

“Gathering units in a new TDI business area will unlock opportunities both within oil and gas, renewables and low carbon solutions,” it said.

TDI will be headed by Carri Lockhart, a U.S. citizen who joined Equinor in 2016 and who has previously been in charge of the company’s U.S. offshore business.

Five members of the executive committee are new to top management roles, including temporary Chief Financial Officer Svein Skeie who was appointed late last month.

Equinor’s units for strategy, acquisitions and business development will be folded into the CFO’s office, and due to those changes the decision on a permanent CFO will be made later, a company source told Reuters.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Nerijus Adomaitis, Kirsten Donovan