Powerful Women | Board
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Board

Ruth Cairnie

Ruth Cairnie is the Chair of the POWERful Women initiative. She is also the Chair of Babcock International Group and the SID at Associated British Foods plc where she chairs the Remuneration Committee. She was previously on the boards of Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, Keller Group plc and ContourGlobal plc.

Ruth is also a Patron of the Women in Defence Charter. She is a trustee of Windsor Leadership.

Ruth was formerly Executive Vice President Strategy & Planning at Royal Dutch Shell plc, where she held a number of senior international roles, including managing the Global Commercial Fuels business.

During her executive career, Ruth was mainly based in London but also lived in Stockholm, Hamburg, Singapore and the Hague.

Ruth has a BSc Joint Honours in Mathematics & Physics from Bristol University and a Masters in Advanced Studies from Cambridge University.

Baroness Verma

Baroness Verma, co-founder of Powerful Women is currently sitting on the European Union Committee  and chairs the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee.
Baroness Verma served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development from May 2015 until July 2016. She has been a Conservative member of the House of Lords since 2006 and previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC.

Between 2010 and 2016 her posts included the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy and Climate Change), Lords Spokesperson (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), Lords Spokesperson (Home Office) (Equalities and Women’s Issues), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development) in government.

Laura Sandys

Laura Sandys CBE, co-founder of Powerful Women is a business entrepreneur and political innovator. In both politics and the corporate world, Laura has campaigned for changes in food security, together with resource management and energy markets as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Energy Minister.

She is the CEO of the organisation Challenging Ideas, a creative space for businesses to test ideas, models, and challenge status quo thinking in a safe environment, as well as the Chair of Energy Systems Data Taskforce. Laura also set up the Food Foundation as an independent policy think-tank to explore the changing challenges facing UK and international food systems.

Previously, Laura Sandys has served as the Conservative MP for South Thanet since 2010. She is the former chair of the European Movement UK, a not-for-profit, independent, all-party and grassroots organisation, which calls for closer integration and cooperation at the EU level in areas where collective EU action can deliver better results than individual member states acting on their own.

Francis Gugen

Francis Gugen is a founding member of POWERful Women, as well Director & Chair Audit Committee of SBM Offshore NV; the world’s largest offshore floating production facilities provider, with a market cap of £2.5bn operating 1% of the world’s oil production. Francis has over 40 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry.

Francis was previously employed as Non-Executive Director by Britannia Building Society, Chairman by Petroleum Geo-Services ASA, Chairman by CH4 Energy Ltd., Chief Executive Officer by Amerada Hess Ltd., Chairman by Confederation of British Industry, and President by UK Offshore Operators Association Ltd.

Between 1982 and 2000 he helped grow Amerada Hess in North West Europe, ultimately becoming regional CEO.

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

Louise has spent the past 27 years working with energy professionals around the world. Prior to her appointment at the head of the EI, Louise was Director General of the Institute of Petroleum and Chief Executive of the Institute of Energy.

Louise is also a non-executive director on the board of Energy Saving Trust. She has previously been President of the Energy Industries Club, advisory member of the Energy Policy Board at the University of Birmingham, judge for HM Queen’s Prize for Higher and Further Education and council member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.

In 2006, she received a Global Leadership in Energy Award and in 2011, the OBE from HM Queen for services to the energy industry. In 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Science Doctorate from the University of Bath.

Emily Bourne

Emily Bourne is the Director for the Energy Development and Resilience Directorate at BEIS, with responsibility for upstream oil and gas policy, shale gas policy, offshore oil and gas environmental regulation, energy planning consents and coal liabilities, energy Cyber security and Emergency resilience.

Prior to this she was the head of the department’s Shale Gas team, and before that Head of Programme for Electricity Market Reform in the Department for Energy and Climate Change. She has worked on energy policy for the past ten years.

Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright is the former Managing Director of Ørsted in the UK (previously DONG Energy).

He joined the Company in May 2017.  Matthew has 30 years’ experience in the utilities sector, working both in the UK and overseas.  Most recently he spent 10 years in the UK water sector, first as Managing Director at United Utilities and subsequently as CEO of Southern Water, a position he held for 6 years.

Prior to this, he spent 20 years in the electricity industry and held a number of senior strategic and operational roles with ScottishPower in the UK and PacifiCorp in the USA.

Simon Fanshawe OBE

Simon Fanshawe OBE is a co founder and partner of Diversity by Design, a ground breaking consultancy that works with organisations to develop diversity solutions in response to strategic questions in order to build greater performance. www.diversitybydesign.co.uk

Recent clients include: Sheffield, Cardiff, Kingston, Hertfordshire, Nottingham, Exeter Universities, FirstGroup, Costa, Virgin Media, the Co-op, GCHQ, NSPCC, The College of Policing, The Army.

Previously, Simon was chairman of the University of Sussex governing Council. He is currently on the Boards of Brighton Dome and Festival, Housing and Care 21 and of POWERful Women and is a Trustee of The Museum of London.

Simon was also a co-founder of one of the most successful lobby and campaign groups in recent times, the lesbian and gay equality organisation Stonewall. He is now a co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Trust, supporting LGBTI activists abroad.

Simon is a broadcaster, writer and pundit. He was awarded the OBE in the New Years Honours list 2013 for services to Higher Education. And he was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Sussex for services to diversity and human rights in 2013.

Sir Edward Davey

Sir Edward Davey has served as the Member of Parliament for Kingston and Surbiton from 1997 to 2015, and since the General Election of June 2017. In 2019, Edward was elected as acting co-leader of the Liberal Democrats alongside Sal Brinton.

An economist by trade, he was a business consultant before he was elected for the first time in 1997. It was his concerns about our environment that first got him politically active. Ed was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2012-15, and in 2016 set up a consultancy working primarily in the energy and climate change field. He chairs a Community Energy Co-operative Company called Mongoose Energy  and was honoured to receive a knighthood from the Queen in the 2016 New Year Honours.