Outlook: Exploring the New Breed of Oil, Gas CEOs


Rigzone | October 26, 2016

The Rigzone article, “Outlook: Exploring the New Breed of Oil, Gas CEOs,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates consultant Steve Morse about his thoughts on the future leaders in the oil and gas industry. The article is excerpted below.

Shakeups in leadership have been fairly common during the oil and gas industry’s current downturn. As low crude oil prices continued month after month, companies lost some key leaders, reorganized its senior executives and ramped up their succession plans.

And the industry’s aging workforce and subsequent retirements have laid the foundation for what many are calling a new breed of CEOs – a crop of fresh, skilled individuals who will be the future leaders of oil and gas.

“The E&P [exploration and production] sector has gone through a pretty dramatic structural change in the past five to seven years, becoming more decentralized … historically, organizations were run by integrated oil companies – large, complex organizations that were strong and centrally run in their processes,” Steve Morse, sector leader for industrial natural resources at executive search firm Russell Reynold Associates, told Rigzone. “With the advent of shale and reshaping how we go about E&P, especially in the shale basins, the move to these decentralized structures has really changed the culture, decision-making and strategy around how these organizations work.”

The CEOs of the future will need to be original thinkers, first and foremost, said Morse.

“These are people with strong independent thinking skills who are open to change and are conceptual thinkers,” Morse said. “They’re innovators – people who can manage dynamic organizations.”

The industry also needs good team-builders, those with a high emotional intelligence (EQ), said Morse.

“They can read and engage others horizontally and vertically,” he said. “The millennial generation is playing a larger role in organizations in our energy industry, and in order to manage those millennials, the CEOs need to be more flexible with their structures and how they employ people to create a positive culture and environment.”


Opportunities for Younger Workers

For years, the industry has communicated its need for strong leadership, innovation and new technologies. This creates numerous opportunities for younger energy professionals to take advantage.

Morse said companies are looking to foster better knowledge management and development of teams who can bring those skill sets.

“Digitization of the oil and gas industry is happening at a rapid pace,” said Morse. “Individuals with experience in best-of-class companies around innovation, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors are going to be sought after in this new world order because the cultural attributes of openness and strategic growth orientation are very sought after during the early stages of one’s career.”

This can be those fresh out of graduate school who take on early training roles, he added. Automation of business and technology applications are going to create opportunities for tech-savvy individuals.

To read the full article, click here.

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Outlook: Exploring the New Breed of Oil, Gas CEOs