In a male-dominated industry such as oil and gas, a leader like Pissawan Achanapornkul is a rare sight. Here, she tells us why she believes that each business challenge calls for a different kind of leader with different characteristics.
You have been appointed the first female leader of the Shell organisation in Thailand. What is the secret behind your success?
I believe it’s a combination of different reasons: my in-depth understanding of the oil business from my long career with Shell, my openness to new ideas, enthusiasm in assuming new challenges as well as my determination to drive success. Also, I think that the management felt I could cope with new responsibilities.
Would these be the same qualities you look for in your future leaders?
It would still be the same composition, but the weighting of each factor may be different depending on the future business environment. Personally, my future leaders must have the competency and capability to manage people, business alliances, clients, and the overall business.
As the first female leader, how will the organisation be different under your leadership?
The focus is not so much on bringing about change. It’s more about reinforcing the Shell core values: integrity, honesty, and respect. I’d like to further enhance these core values on top of encouraging diversity, the exchange of ideas and boundless communication.
What are some of the toughest choices you have made so far?
An overhaul of the downstream business operations that caused major changes in the organisational structure and our relationship with business partners, customers and stakeholders. While tough, this change will make Shell more competitive in the long run.
What initiatives have you taken that you thought made a positive difference to the organisation and the community at large?
We carried out Energy Scenario 2050 to communicate to government, the media and students our concern about future energy challenges. We also are continuing our programme of education support for Thai youths. We have awarded scholarships for more than 25 years and we try our best to get involved in educational opportunities.
Interested to hear more? You can read the full interview with Pissawan here.