[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="220" caption=" Ann Pickard
at a gas plant near the Niger Delta"]
PHOTO: VANESSA VICK/REDUX: Ann Pickard
at a gas plant near the Niger Delta
Ann Pickard, Shell's chief in Nigeria, knows the true meaning of oil crisis.
(Fortune Magazine) - Ann Pickard's title sounds normal enough - she's regional executive vice president in Africa for Royal Dutch Shell's exploration and production division.
But there's nothing normal whatsoever about Pickard's job.
Indeed, as Shell's top official in Nigeria, Pickard may well hold the most dangerous executive post within the oil industry.
A 53-year-old Wyoming native who helped organize battered women's shelters before entering the energy biz in the late 1980s - "making $7,000 a year doesn't quite cut it," she
says of her
former life - Pickard
is the first woman to run Shell's
talks a lot about reducing accidents, and by accidents, she's
not talking about the industrial variety.
"Our accidents tend to be people getting shot because they're at the wrong place at the wrong time," Pickard
"I don't think it was an attack on Shell per se, but more a political point being made to the government that the militants can reach anywhere the industry operates," says Pickard, who reports to Shell's E&P chief Malcom Brinded.
A mother of two young children, Pickard
would not remain in Nigeria if she
children or husband, a retired naval officer, were in danger. (She typically travels with bodyguards and police escorts.) Why does Pickard stay?
"I like these types of environments because you make a difference," Pickard
ticks off a list Shell's contributions to local communities - ranging from employment to health programs to college scholarships.
Green is most open, and red is least," Pickard