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Saudi Aramco has appointed the first woman to its board of directors in what is seen as a milestone in the Kingdom where women executives are few and work opportunities for women are often restricted by the so-called male guardianship law.
Now the Saudi oil giant has recruited a U.S. female executive with experience in the oil industry to sit on its board of directors along with four other new appointees.
Aramco has appointed Lynn Laverty Elsenhans, former chairwoman, president & CEO at Sunoco Inc between 2008 and 2012, the Saudi oil firm said in a statement on Sunday.
Before joining Sunoco in 2008, Elsenhans had held several leadership positions at various subsidiaries and divisions at Shell.
Apart from its first woman on the board of directors, Aramco also appointed two other former executives at major U.S. oil and energy companies to serve as directors. One is Peter L. Cella, former Chevron Philips Chemical Co LP President & CEO between 2011 and 2017. The other is Andrew N. Liveris, Director and Former Executive Chairman at DowDuPont Inc, and Chairman & CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, who is retiring from DowDuPont and Dow effective July 1, 2018, when his tenure at Aramco will begin.
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Apart from the American oil executives, Aramco’s new board members include Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Mohammed A. Al-Jadaan and the Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammed M. Al-Tuwaijri.
After the reshuffle, the board will now consist of a total of 11 directors, including the first female director Elsenhans, the chairman Khalid al-Falih who is also Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, and the Aramco CEO and President Amin H. Nasser.
Aramco is reshuffling its board ahead of a much-anticipated IPO and amid promises by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he would open up the conservative Saudi society.
Last year, the Saudi Stock Exchange appointed its first female chair, Sarah Al-Suhaimi.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.