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Richard A. Chance for Quartz

Vicki Hollub is showing Big Oil how to survive climate change

Akshat Rathi
Member exclusive by Akshat Rathi

You likely don’t know Vicki Hollub, and she’d prefer to keep it that way. She avoids the public eye, not because she’s caught up in some scandal, but because, as an oil executive, she’s trained to do so. When journalists ask her questions, she gives well-rehearsed answers that provide just enough detail to make her seem likable.

That’s a shame. After talking to some two dozen people who have worked with her, and many more in the industry who have followed her moves closely, I’ve come to realize that she has a remarkable story to tell—one with global implications.

In 2016, Hollub became the first female CEO of a major international oil company, in an industry where men make up 75% of the workforce. In the short time since, she’s proved to disparaging voices that she cannot be underestimated, turning around a company that lost $1 billion in 2016 to a profit of $4.1 billion in 2018.