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James has over 20 years of experience in both public and private sector organisations in the fields of strategy and scenarios planning, energy transition, non-technical risk management, and external affairs including corporate (sustainability and ESG) reporting.
Following several years working for the BBC in Moscow, and a period of consulting at UNESCO, James joined Shell International in 2006. As Issues Manager Nigeria, James worked with the Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria and international stakeholders to address operational challenges in the Niger Delta including oil spill response and oil theft. As Strategic Projects Manager in the Shell scenarios unit, James lead several key strategic initiatives including the launch of the company’s internal energy transition planning process, research into sectoral decarbonisation of the global economy and an 18 month energy scenarios exercise with the Department of Energy of South Africa to help inform strategic national policy.
As Vice President for Strategy and Planning and then Vice President Corporate Relations, James oversaw the development and introduction of a company-wide trust and reputation building strategy, and the development of a strategic framework for the company to address ESG stakeholder expectations. He was the external affairs lead of the small cross-functional team at headquarters that managed energy transition planning and investor/stakeholder engagement, including Shell’s response to climate-focused activist investor pressure. In his most recent role James was the senior executive responsible for Shell’s crisis management capability, sustainability reporting and non technical risk management.
During his time with Shell, James developed two thematic specialisations: issues management and trust building in complex operating environments; and the energy transition. For both topics, James catalysed and executed innovative responses. For example, working with the head of the McKinsey Extractives Industry Practice, he established the internationally recognised Energy Transition Commission.
James has a Master’s in Political Science and Sustainable Development from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, France, a Bachelor’s degree in Law LLB from Manchester University, UK, and a diploma in scenario planning from Oxford University, UK.