Eileen Perillo has built a 16-year career at Shell USA Co., working on both sides of the Atlantic and on some of the company’s most notable projects. Those projects have included conventional oil and gas assets overseas, typically $500 million or greater in size, and subsequently a variety of unconventional projects in the U.S. as well as dry-gas assets in Canada to feed an LNG export terminal.
Currently, Eileen holds the position of vice president, finance, unconventionals, based in Houston, a role she accepted in December of 2017.
Eileen’s career at Shell began in its lubricants consumer North America division, after which she joined what is now its M&A division. She served in M&A for three years, initially in upstream commercial finance, based in The Hague, Netherlands, and thereafter as the upstream Americas strategic cost leadership manager. In late 2010, she joined Shell Trading with financial responsibility for the Americas crude and refined products business.
During Eileen’s tenure in M&A, Shell navigated its return to Iraq after the end of the Iran-Iraq war. Eileen was finance lead on the first two bid rounds to get Shell back into Iraq on the upstream side as part of its new business development group. Shell became operator of Majnoon Field in Iraq and was in a joint venture (JV) with Exxon Mobil Corp. in West Qurna Field.
Other transactions also stand out, including Shell’s work with Gazprom on the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant in the far east of Russia, where Eileen was instrumental in negotiating terms of an LNG offtake agreement. Elsewhere, Eileen has been active on the divestiture side of M&A, arranging exits from some of Shell’s exploratory interests in Libya and from some of its interests in the North Sea.
Returning to The Hague in 2014, Eileen joined finance projects and technology projects, with oversight of the conventional oil and gas capital projects portfolio. This largely involved working with JV partners on projects around the world: Ireland, the U.K., Norway, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Brunei and Malaysia.
Eileen’s current assignment in the U.S. unconventional sector includes financial responsibility for Shell’s shale portfolio. Eileen’s finance organization includes team members in these countries as well as in business operations centers in Krakow, Manila and Chennai.
Prior to joining Shell, Eileen held a variety of finance positions for over 10 years with PPG Industries Inc.
Eileen was attracted to an international career as she traveled in the U.S. and overseas with her father, who served in the military. This background gave her “an international mindset” and led her to earn an international MBA from the University of South Carolina, she says.
In terms of motivation, “what I really appreciate about Shell is that we operate on a scale where we can impact the lives of people and countries in terms of their socioeconomic and political development,” says Eileen. “It feeds into the health and wellbeing of the places where we do business.”
In addition, as Shell navigates its way through the “energy transition,” she observes, “we’re on the cusp of having all different kinds of energy. Shell’s position in working to lead that transition from a hydrocarbon-based industry to a much more diversified set of energy sources is still very motivating for me.”
Looking back on her career progression, one instance when she was treated differently due to gender was in an internal interview at PPG in a chemicals facility “that had never had a female in a leadership position,” she recalls. “I got a ‘little lady’ talk and was warned I needed to ‘toughen up.’ It was the only time it blatantly hit me in the face. My reaction was to ignore the undertone and simply to do my job.”
As for advice to others, “I’ve told college students and young professionals that they have to find ways to work collaboratively in teams, because it’s challenging to do things by themselves,” says Eileen. “But, equally, you need to figure out how to stand out as an individual. That’s not always an easy balance to strike. You need to know when to support and when to stand out.”
In addition to her father’s emphasis on honesty and integrity, “most of the mentors I’ve worked closely with have given me the hard truth when I needed to hear it, but were also very supportive,” she says. “I think I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of great people.”
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