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Shell names Yujnovich as chair, Smith to lead global trading

MATT CHAMBERS: Resources reporter Melbourne 4 Feb 2017

Shell Australia chairman Andrew Smith has been promoted to lead the oil major’s global trading business and will be replaced in April by the oil giant’s Canadian-based head of oil sands and former Rio Tinto executive Zoe Yujnovich.

Mr Smith, who has been at the helm of Shell Australia since 2013, has been promoted to lead Shell’s Singapore-based trading and supply business as executive vice- president.

During Mr Smith’s tenure, Shell has become the biggest producer of Australian LNG thanks to the Gorgon project in which it has a non-operating stake, and the acquisition of BG Group. Mr Smith played a key role in the deal.

The Australian-born Mr Smith also oversaw the exit of Shell’s refining and fuel business — where he cut his teeth with the company — through a $3 billion sale to a consortium led by Dutch trader Vitol.

“Today, Shell’s Australian portfolio is a globally significant LNG export business that will continue to make a tangible contribution to Australia’s economy,” Mr Smith said.

“I am proud the business I have led is a massive part of Shell’s world-class investment case.”

Ms Yujnovich is a Hong Kong-born Australian who joined Shell in 2014 after 18 years with Rio Tinto, where she was most recently head of the company’s Canadian iron ore operations. She is also a non-executive director of Canada’s Potash Corp, the fertiliser company BHP Billiton unsuccessfully tried to take over.

Returning to her home town of Perth as head of Shell, Ms Yujnovich will take on one of the most prominent energy jobs in the country.

She said she was proud and ­excited to return to Australia with her husband — who she met while studying engineering at the University of Western Australia — and their three children, to run Shell’s business.

“Andrew has left Shell’s business in Australia in a strong position, as we continue to build a viable export business, while meeting the demands of local customers,” Ms Yujnovich said.

“I’m particularly excited about continuing to leverage the strong businesses we have in Australia and getting even closer to our customers as their needs and our industry continue to evolve,” she said.

Mr Smith has been vocal on issues such as domestic gas policy and other local issues, in contrast to the local heads of other supermajors, something that is not likely to change under Ms Yujnovich.

“Andrew has been a strong voice in consistently calling for the kind of regulatory reform that makes Australia a country that can attract investment in job creating projects — particularly outside the prosperous capitals in regional areas,” she said.

“I look forward to building on Andrew’s legacy both by running Shell safely and efficiently, but also by being an active voice in the national debate.”


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