POWERful Women announces the appointment of new Chair Katie Jackson

POWERful Women announces the appointment of new Chair Katie Jackson


POWERful Women is delighted to announce the appointment of Katie Jackson as its new Chair, with effect from 1st May.  Katie succeeds Ruth Cairnie, who is stepping down after holding the role since 2015.

POWERful Women Co-founder Laura Sandys CBE commented:

“We are delighted to have someone of Katie’s calibre joining POWERful Women as Chair at this pivotal time in the energy sector, when we need to be working to cultivate the very best, diverse talent for the challenges ahead.”


Nick Wayth, CEO of the Energy Institute and Board Member of POWERful Women added:

“The Board of POWERful Women and our whole team look forward to working with Katie to achieve a step change in gender diversity and inclusion in the UK energy industry – essential for the successful delivery of the transition to Net Zero. Katie has a strong track record in energy sector senior leadership around the globe and a passion for greater diversity and inclusion, making her ideally suited to the role.”

Katie Jackson is currently Executive Vice President for Acquisition, Divestment and New Business Development at Shell, where she first started her career in 1994 as a Drilling Engineer. In the intervening years she worked in oil and gas corporate finance with UBS in London and Houston, was VP for Corporate Development at Anadarko and held SVP roles in Corporate M&A and Development & Production at Equinor, before joining BG Group as EVP for Global Business Development and Strategy. Katie holds an MA in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University. She is a Non-Executive Director of the specialist engineering group IMI and was shortlisted as ‘NED to watch’ in the 2021 Non-Executive Director Awards.

Katie Jackson commented:

“I am delighted to be appointed Chair of POWERful Women at an exciting and important moment in the energy transition and when diversity and inclusion are more important than ever.  I look forward to working with the Board, the team and the whole POWERful Women network, from company leaders to the many amazing women working in energy, to achieve our goals.”

Commenting on Ruth Cairnie’s departure, Baroness Verma, Co-founder of POWERful Women, said:

Ruth has been a thoughtful and dedicated Chair of Powerful Women; I have great admiration for the way she, through her knowledge of the energy sector and her relationships with sector leaders, has ensured that POWERful Women is recognised for its advocating role for greater senior female representation in the sector. When Laura Sandys and I founded POWERful Women, we both knew how much work was needed to make sustainable and meaningful inroads for real change. I want to thank Ruth for her hard work and wish her every success for the future.”

Outgoing Chair Ruth Cairnie commented:


“It has been a real privilege to chair POWERful Women since soon after its inception. I got involved because of the very poor representation of women in energy, and my strong conviction that improving diversity would be instrumental in stepping up to the challenges the sector faces. I am pleased to hear more voices embracing this view and getting to grips with the steps to drive real change, faster. I am thrilled to be handing over to Katie, who will be a marvellous Chair as POWERful Women moves on to its next phase.”




POWERful Women is a professional initiative working to increase the representation of women at the top of the UK energy industry.  Our goals are for 30% of executive director roles and 40% of middle management roles to be held by women by 2030. On 7th June, POWERful Women’s annual statistics will be published, in partnership with PwC, to reveal the latest figures for women in board, executive director and executive pipeline roles in the top 80 energy companies.

In the seven years since POWERful Women began collecting data, the percentage of women in board and executive director roles has risen from 9% and 6% (respectively) to 24% and 14% in 2021. This is welcome progress but remains too slow, particularly for executive director roles, demonstrating that there is more to do to reach POWERful Women’s goals and move towards gender balance in the UK energy sector.

We would like to extend our thanks to MWM Consulting for leading the search for our new Chair on a pro bono basis. 





Anna Stanford, Communications Adviser: +44 7961 234634  anna@powerfulwomen.org.uk

About POWERful Women

POWERful Women is a professional initiative working to increase the representation of women at the top of the UK energy sector.  Our goals are to see 30% of executive board roles and 40% of middle management roles filled by women by 2030.  We do this in three ways:  campaigning and reporting (for example, annual board statistics, the Energy Leaders’ Coalition, company pledges), supporting women in their careers (for example, through our mentoring programme, POWERful Connections) and providing practical support to companies committed to better gender diversity and inclusion (for example, through D&I working groups and sharing good practice).  More information: www.powerfulwomen.org.uk