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Exxon Mobil recruits new female top-level executive

Exxon Mobil has appointed Kathyrn Mikells as its new Chief Financial Officer, making her the first top-level executive to be recruited externally, as well as the first female one.

In the past, the company’s various vice presidents have been males who were recruited internally, although it does have many female leaders outside the boardroom. However, investors have now pressured the oil and lubricant company to reform its leadership and follow other oil majors in investing in the transition of energy.

Chief Executive Darren Woods said in a press release that:

“We welcome Kathy to Exxon Mobil and look forward to the perspective and experience she brings as we work together to deliver on our strategies and increase shareholder value.”

The appointment is thought to be the first step in a marked change in the tone of management, as the company has previously followed a strict hierarchical structure. Mikells will replace Andrew Swiger, who has been with the company since 1978 and now qualifies for retirement. Over her career, Mikells has worked at Diageo Plc., a spirits distributor, and she has handled the fuel-hedging strategy for United Airlines.

While women are generally under-represented in the energy sector workforce when compared to other sectors, more of them have gone on to take up top-level positions over the past decade. These include Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub, Duke Energy Corporation CEO Lynn Good and former CFO of Chevron, Pat Yarrington, who held the position from 2009 up until she retired in 2019.

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