Industry leader Deirdre Michie is to step down as CEO of the trade body Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) after nearly a decade at the helm.
Ms Michie said she will step down at the end of this year, having been in the post at the organisation, formerly known as Oil and Gas UK, for almost eight years.
Industry bosses, including Sir Ian Wood, have paid tribute to her in cementing the organisation as a “trusted voice” for north-east Scotland and the wider industry.
Ms Michie said:“It has been an extraordinary privilege to represent this industry through some of the most challenging times that it has had to deal with in its history.
“Working with the team at OEUK, our members and our stakeholders, I consider we have raised the bar in the way this industry and OEUK have continued to evolve, embracing the energy transition while at the same time helping to underpin the UK’s security of energy supply.
“Given my length of tenure and the evolution of the sector and of OEUK, it is important that I hand over to someone who can ensure a multi-year commitment to OEUK’s progress within what will continue to be a very dynamic environment.
“It is a real honour to represent this sector and its people – I admire their resilience and commitment to do the right thing and I thank them all for the support that they continue to give me and the team at OEUK.”
The process to find her replacement will begin immediately.
OEUK hopes to have a new CEO in place by the end of the year.
Ms Michie said it’s important her successor can ensure “a multi-year commitment to OEUK’s progress within what will continue to be a very dynamic environment”.
Dierdre Michie, a veteran of oil giant Shell which she first joined in 1986, was appointed to the helm of OEUK in 2015, taking over from Malcolm Webb.
Since then she has supported the industry over the course of two huge downturns for the oil and gas sector, including the latest Covid-related price crash.
One of her crowning achievements was the signing of the North Sea Transition Deal last year – a £16bn agreement between industry and government to develop low-carbon areas including hydrogen, platform electrification and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Most recently she has been leading the industry’s fight against the Government’s imposed windfall tax on the industry.
‘Champion of the industry’
Sir Ian Wood, chairman of Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) Limited and one of the industry’s highest profile industrialists said: “Under Deirdre’s leadership, OEUK has established itself as hugely respected organisation who have proved to be a trusted voice of its members and the wider energy industry, particularly across the north-east of Scotland, and indeed the UK.
“The oil and gas industry, in particular, has had to navigate a period of unprecedented challenge over the last eight years and Deirdre has represented the sector with a real sense of purpose and intent.
“On a personal level, it has been a privilege to work closely with Deirdre throughout this period and I wish her well for the future.”
Andy Samuel, CEO of the North Sea Transition Authority, said: “Deirdre is widely, and rightly, recognised for doing a tremendous job at OEUK during a period of significant change and challenge for the offshore industry.
“Under her strong and intelligent leadership, OEUK has evolved with the times, broadening its focus and membership from traditional oil and gas to include renewables and carbon storage. Deirdre was a driving force behind the North Sea Transition Deal which should give her a great sense of pride. It has been a privilege to work with Deirdre and I wish her well for the future.”
Simon Roddy, North Sea boss at Shell, said: “What a tremendous champion of the industry Deirdre has been.
“Under her leadership, OEUK has made a big impact at a time of huge change and challenge.”
Politicians also paid their respects to Ms Michie’s leadership.
UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Deirdre has served the industry with distinction and has been a steadfast supporter of strengthening Britain’s energy security in these uncertain times.
“She was integral to our landmark North Sea Transition Deal, championing a bright future for our offshore energy sectors, supporting countless jobs and securing highly valuable investment across the United Kingdom.”
Scottish cabinet secretary for Net Zero and Energy, Michael Matheson, added: ““Under Deirdre’s leadership, OEUK has advocated passionately for its members and worked to ensure Scotland’s rich energy heritage has a bright future.
“The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with OEUK and I look forward to building on our constructive relationship with her successor.”
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid, who worked closely with Ms Michie on issues such as the development of the North Sea Transition Deal, said: “Deirdre has been a powerful, sensible and balanced voice for the whole oil and gas industry over several years and I’m very sad to see her step down as chief executive of OEUK.
“Deirdre deserves great praise for reinforcing the industry’s critical role and commitment to making the energy transition process a reality.”