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Pilko & Associates Executive Team

At Pilko, we are facilitators and advisors on an ongoing basis.  We have become the most respected global consulting firm to senior executives of leading chemical and energy companies by providing results, innovative solutions and advice on strategic operational and EHS risk control issues critical to our clients’ business success.

Our competitive advantage is the experience and expertise of our people contained in our industry leading CONTROLSOLUTIONS™, 8IGHT DRIVERS® methodology, and Remote Sensing® process.

Our global team averages more than 38 years of industry experience, and our professionals each have extensive real-world and operational knowledge. They share their thinking, expertise and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and deliver practical advice.

At Pilko, we foster collaboration, active listening and engagement. We challenge conventional wisdom, while seeking exceptional results. Our advisors thrive in environments where they are challenged to be creative and innovative in the ways they work with clients to deliver “outside of the box” solutions.

Our executive team stands ready to help you understand more about how you can increase control of your operational, EHS, and transaction world.


Why Pilko Brochure


Pilko Overview Presentation




Pilko & Associates was formed in 1980 on a very simple premise—give corporate officers and board members more control of operational/EHS and merger and acquisition risk. From the very start, George recognized and determined to solve the problem of continually escalating energy and chemical company risk, leading to catastrophic incident and financial impact such as reduced profit, fines and reputational and shareholder value loss.

George’s leadership brings unmatched value, customer experience and positive cultural and financial impact to Pilko’s clients. Through his vision, Pilko has emerged as the leading risk advisory firm across numerous industries—delivering rapid, dramatic and sustainable improvement—based on industry-leading best practices, leadership, expertise and skill.

George has grown the Pilko team from a small advisory group in Houston to an international firm with senior-level advisors in 35 countries across six continents. George oversees global responsibilities for sales and marketing, business development and operations, but prides himself on being hands-on and accessible.

Sought after as a speaker and writer, George has published articles in Directors & Boards and ICIS Chemical Business, and he has been quoted in publications that include The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Petroleum Economist and Chemical Week.  George currently serves as Chair of the Houston Campaign Council for the University of Michigan $4 Billion Capital Campaign and previously served on the Strategic Advisory Council of the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, Chairman of the Board of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) and trustee of the Nature Conservancy of Texas.  He was named as a finalist for EY’s 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Gulf Coast Region.

George earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and his MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.




Aamir Farid is Managing Director at Pilko & Associates.  He recently joined Pilko in 2016 after 38 years as a Senior Executive in the Petrochemical Industry with Shell Oil Company. His career is exemplified by successful leadership in all aspects of running successful manufacturing sites including personal and process safety, environmental, operations, maintenance, turnarounds, reliability, capital and strategic planning, financing, customer and community relations.

Aamir retired from Shell as Vice President – Manufacturing for Shell Oil Company’s Americas Region which includes 9 refineries and petrochemical sites in Canada, South America and the United States. Aamir was responsible for regional P&L and delivery of results in all critical result areas including Health & Safety, Environmental, Regulatory/Compliance, Reliability, Product Quality and Margin Growth. He was responsible for Shell workforce of over 5400 employees with specific responsibilities for selection and development of site General Managers, site leadership teams and individuals with high potential.

Aamir received his Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering – Stanford University, 1978 and is based in the U.S.




Russ joined Pilko in 2015 after a 34 year career with Royal Dutch Shell where he was a senior executive with leadership and operational experience across all aspects of the upstream oil & gas business. Russ currently advises oil & gas companies and financial institutions on project-specific matters and is a member of the University of Michigan Energy Institute External Advisory Board.

As a global oil & gas executive, he has served in technical, operating and leadership roles over onshore and deep water assets, in research, and as head of mergers & acquisitions in North America. He has skills in the development and operation of assets from dispersed onshore fields to installation of world-class offshore projects; portfolio restructuring; developing/meeting operating cost challenges; improving personal and process safety performance, and inspiring a team to rally around delivery of difficult objectives.

In his role as Executive Vice President Contracting & Procurement (2013-2015), he oversaw Royal Dutch Shell Group’s global supply chain activity across upstream, downstream and functional areas (e.g., IT), with annual spend of $60–65B. Focused on value creation beyond typical buying and on functional cost efficiency, the CP organization achieved third party spend savings of $3B in 2015 while reducing staff 15%.

Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President Onshore where he led development, drilling, and field producing operations of the shale portfolio in the US and Canada (total investment of $2-4B /yr) producing ~2 bcfe/d. Russ was directly involved in the acquisition/integration of holdings in Canada and the US, divesting non-core properties, improving safety performance, and meeting operating challenges in a difficult economic environment.

In his role as VP Technical, Americas, Russ was a member of Shell’s Global Upstream Technical Leadership Team overseeing upstream development operations in the Western Hemisphere, and recommending investment decisions to the Executive Committee/Board. Projects included multi-billion dollar investments in Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico along with redevelopment programs in numerous onshore and offshore fields. He has also worked in executive Shell positions in the Netherlands.

Russ has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from California State University. Until 2015, he was Chairman of the Board of Aera Energy, a California-based EP company.




Alan joined Pilko & Associates from ConocoPhillips, where he has spent his entire career including the last 15 years working in the Health, Safety and Environmental field. Alan most recently served as Health, Safety and Environmental Manager responsible for stakeholder relations and for the development and implementation of a major programme to install state-of-the-art environmental controls. Reporting to the Europe and Asia Pacific Presidents and as a member of the European leadership team, Alan had functional accountability for the HSE aspects of approximately $6 billion worth of assets which included five refineries and approximately 1000 retail sites. At ConocoPhillips’ Humber Refinery, he helped to achieve industry leading accident and incident rates in businesses. Under his leadership, the ConocoPhillips European business consistently benchmarked in the top quartile of manufacturing businesses; the Asia Pacific (Malaysia and Thailand) retail businesses were widely recognised as the industry leader in safety.

Throughout his career, Alan has been recognized for his strong technical and operational background as well as his extensive experience in both process and occupational safety. Alan has the proven ability to provide practical HSE management systems, programs and solutions that are applicable to a wide range of operations, countries and cultures. The combination of Alan’s extensive experience as well as his international acumen position him well to advise companies and their stakeholders in these complex, multi-jurisdictional situations across transactions, operational excellence and governance and assurance needs. Alan obtained a first class honours degree from Teesside in chemical engineering and lives in Buckinghamshire.




Rich joined Pilko & Associates in June 2011 and employs his extensive operating and executive experience to help advise company executives and corporate boards in the energy, chemical and petrochemical-related industries. His career spans over 36 years in the U.S. refining industry, including over 25 years with ExxonMobil followed by more than ten years with Valero Energy Corporation, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

As a member of Valero’s executive leadership team, Rich has extensive experience working with the Valero Board of Directors. While at Valero, Rich was involved in Valero’s dramatic growth from a small, independent refining company to the largest North American refining company. During this period of Valero’s most dramatic growth, Rich integrated all corporate engineering, technology, energy management, project development, project execution, and procurement into a single integrated refining organization. He also led the implementation of an advanced process safety management system.

Rich worked in Exxon refineries in Linden, NJ, Benicia, CA, Baton Rouge, LA and Exxon’s Refining and Supply headquarters in Houston, TX. He became the general manager of Exxon’s Benicia Refinery in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. This plant was acquired by Valero in 2000 which was when he joined Valero. He transferred to Valero’s corporate office in San Antonio, TX in 2001 as a Senior Vice President and was subsequently promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2007.

Rich, a native of New York City, holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from New York University.




Mike McCandless is Managing Director at Pilko & Associates.

Mike has 37 years of operations leadership experience to help organizations improve EHS and productivity performance.

Mike retired in 2011 as Vice President of Manufacturing for the Forest Products Division of Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc.  He also worked for Union Carbide Corporation and Dow Chemical Company.  In addition to several manufacturing assignments across seven locations, Mike served as Director of Safety, Process Safety, and Audits for Union Carbide, and was a member of the integration team for the merger of Union Carbide and Dow.  Throughout his career, Mike drove significant EHS and productivity improvement by helping organizations to clearly understand the need and finding the key leverage points for improvement.

Since joining Pilko, Mike has served on several due diligence assignments, including sites that had been operated by DuPont, Dow, Chandra Asri, Sonoco, TCP Group, and Oxea.  He has also advised companies that include Evonik, Qatar Chemical Company, Ras Laffan Olefins Company, and Williams to improve their approach to risk management.

Mike is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.  He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.



Jenny Meyer was recently promoted to Vice President, Business Development. Jenny joined the Pilko team in March 2017 as Director of Business Development, making significant contributions to our event success, prospect management, and client reach. Jenny’s strong sense of intuition, creativity and intentionality drives momentum within our organization and facilitates strong, long-term client relationships. Jenny hails from SCF Partners, where she spent eight years in the private equity trenches, cultivating her experience through due diligence on several M&A transactions, IPOs and assisting with the firm’s business development process. Jenny earned her MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. When not plotting Pilko’s next strategic move, Jenny enjoys spending time with her husband Ted, fitness and working with challenged young adults.




Greta, head of Pilko’s Governance & Assurance practice, joined Pilko & Associates in September 2010 from Petro-Canada, where for the past seven years, she had managed global responsibility for environment, health, safety, aboriginal affairs, security, stakeholder relations, emergency response and crisis management as well as corporate responsibility. As Vice President of Environment, Safety and Social Responsibility, Greta reported directly to the CEO and was the primary contact with the Petro-Canada Board EHS Committee. She contributed to Petro-Canada’s Human Resources efforts including five years as Vice President, responsible for HR service delivery globally.

Greta has focused on corporate governance and operational excellence for over 15 years. She is an experienced environmental, health and safety (EHS) and human resources professional with in-depth expertise in the oil and gas industry. She advises Corporate Boards of Directors and Executives on operational and EHS risk assessment and governance. As Pilko’s head of Governance & Assurance, she works directly with Boards of Directors and senior executives on operational, environmental, health, safety, and stakeholder risk assessment, mitigation and governance. In addition, Greta leads the members-only Governance Forum, where she develops case studies on relevant Operational Risk and EHS governance topics on behalf of member companies and facilitates the Forum discussions.

Greta is an Independent Director of Tidewater Midstream, where she serves on the Governance, HR, and EHS Committee.  She is a member of the Board of CAWST, a non-profit that brings clean water to the very poor in 53 countries around the world, The Alberta Water Portal Society, and the Calgary Opera Association. Greta is also professionally certified with the Institute of Corporate Directors’ (ICD), the professional association representing Canadian Directors and Boards across the for-profit, not-for-profit and government sectors. The ICD.D designation is recognized both nationally and internationally.

Greta graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in human biology and from the University of California at Berkeley with an MPH in environmental health. She attended the Executive Management Programme at the University of Michigan School of Business.




John Robinson joined the Pilko Board in December 2011 as Lead Director and since January 2012 has been appointed lead of the Chemicals Industry Practice. Previously CEO of ChemConnect, Inc., Group Vice President at BP, and President of BP Chemicals Inc., John spearheads Pilko’s ongoing expansion in the global chemicals industry.

With more than 30 years of in-depth industry experience, John has an outstanding track record in executive management, strategic planning and hands-on P&L experience. Throughout his career, John has managed operations on four continents, with more than 11 of his 18 years at BP in Europe. John was a member of the negotiating team for the acquisition of Amoco and led the integration of the BP and Amoco chemical companies.  He has led numerous other acquisitions in his career.

More recently, he has held consulting roles with biofuel companies including PetroAlgae, Arbor Fuel, Solix Biofuels and Endicott Biofuels and served as a board member for Better BioDiesel.

While at BP, John called on Pilko & Associates for its services on multiple occasions. John’s firsthand experience as a Pilko client further enables him to understand our clients’ unique needs and challenges. He understands the importance of executive and operational leadership and makes it his priority to ensure that our clients continue to receive the full range of expertise and high-quality independent advice that they have come to expect from Pilko.

John holds a doctorate in chemistry from Rice University and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Houston.



Sven Royall joined Pilko in December 2015 as Managing Director Transaction Services having previously spent 34 years with Royal Dutch Shell in their Chemicals and Natural Gas businesses. In addition to working out of London, Sven held posts in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore over a period of 10 years, gaining in-depth experience working throughout Asia-Pacific. He also spent two years in Houston running Shell’s Base Chemicals business and was the commercial director at startup of Shell’s first GTL project in Bintulu, Malaysia developing global markets and selling a range of ultra-clean transport fuels and specialty chemicals. More recently, he was Vice President of Chemicals Intermediates and Commercial Operations with responsibility for M&A and transaction processes.

Sven also worked on many joint venture (JV) boards in: Europe, The Middle East (where he was a board member of the Sadaf joint venture with Sabic), Asia-Pacific and North America and on several occasions retained Pilko to advise on important strategic reviews – for example Infineum (jointly with ExxonMobil) and as lead director, Sven was also responsible for JV divestments; for example, Basell (jointly with BASF). His wider industry experience has come from representing Shell on the Cefic Board in Europe during the introduction of Reach and subsequently on the American Chemistry Council Board as Chair of The Responsible Care Committee.

Sven’s direct experience of working with Pilko allows him to appraise our services from a client perspective ensuring we maintain our long standing reputation for thoroughness, clarity and quality.

Sven holds a doctorate in chemistry from The City University, London and a master’s degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.


Bob Vruggink recently joined Pilko as Executive Vice President and Chief Implementation Officer. Bob has led high-hazard operations in the chemical and energy industries over his 37-year career. Bob’s knowledge and experience to overcome tough challenges in combining insight and pragmatism to create breakthrough strategies comes through a diversity of assignments. Following significant Process Safety incidents, Bob was recruited into a Safety and Operational Risk organization to work with Refining, Chemical and Upstream assets to significantly improve Process Safety. Bob and his team created a program with the approach of helping leadership develop a systematic method to manage change along with “in the field” support with project teams from seasoned operations leaders. They led dynamic improvement in risk management and the program helped those assets engaged reduce loss of primary containment by an order of magnitude. The program also reduced the severity and number of personal injuries and process safety incidents, contributing to increasing the profitability of the assets.

Bob is a graduate of The University of Pittsburgh where he met his wife Brenda. They have been married for 37 years and together they have raised two sons, Matthew and Michael. Bob and Brenda spend time in Houston, Texas and Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


Global advisors to chemical and energy companies on Operational and EHS risk control for acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures and divestitures.


Our global footprint includes advisors in 32 countries across six continents. We continue to grow our global presence to be where you need us to be.


We have hosted 62 invitation-only Transactions Roundtables in Asia, Europe and North America since 2001.


Bringing operations, EHS, and transactions risk control to corporate officers and boards in the energy and chemicals industry.


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