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Women rise to the top

22nd August 2013

Oil and gas jobs are traditionally male dominated, but the appointment of Nishi Vasudeva as CEO of HPCL is indicative of a new trend

Nishi Vasudeva Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
Nishi Vasudeva is set for promotion to CEO after a lengthy statutory process

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s marketing manager Nishi Vasudeva is set for promotion to CEO when Subir Roychoudhury retires in February 2014. She was chosen from seven candidates by the public enterprises selection board on Wednesday 21st August.


The move will see her join the ranks of other industry leaders in growth markets such as Maria das Graças Silva Foster of Brazil's Petrobras, Karen Agustiawan of Indonesian’s Pertamina, Hinda Garbi of Schlumberger Asia-Pacific, Nigeria’s petroleum and resources minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, Uganda’s energy minister Irene Muloni and Sumayya Athmani of Kenya's National Oil Corporation.


The news comes just as Graças Foster has been voted best Latin America CEO in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector by industry analysts in a ranking compiled by Institutional Investor magazine. Petrobras was also voted as the company with the best investor relations.


The rise of women within the oil and gas industry is a recent and global trend. According to statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the first quarter of 2013 saw the proportion of women entering the oil and gas industry leap to an unprecedented 46 per cent. In previous years the proportion of women entering the industry has not risen above one third.


While some of this trend can be put down to changes in demographics and society, it is also the result of oil and gas companies actively seeking to recruit women at a senior level. For instance, BP’s 2012 Sustainability Review set a target of increasing the proportion of women group leaders to 25 per cent by 2020.


Hinda Garbi worked in Nigeria, Bangkok and France before moving to Malaysia in 2010 to take on the role of president of Schlumberger Asia-Pacific. In an interview with Expat Women, she said “I would advise professional women seeking such assignments to look upon these opportunities as a way to enlarge your horizons and have a completely different perspective on a business, and in some cases, on the entire industry.”

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