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.
PILKO EXECUTIVE TEAM MEMBERS
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 joined Pilko after 38 years with Shell Oil Company where he was a Senior Executive retiring as Vice President Manufacturing for Shell’s Americas region with responsibility for eight refineries and petrochemical sites staffed by 5500 company employees.
Aamir’s career is exemplified by successful leadership in all aspects of the manufacturing business including Health, Safety & Environmental performance, regulatory compliance, community relations, Financial results, Operating and maintenance discipline, strategic planning, capital planning, financing and continuous improvement. As Vice President, Aamir placed major focus on selection and development of site General Managers, development of individuals with high potential and increasing organizational capability to meet performance expectations.
Over his 38 year career with Shell, Aamir served in a variety of management positions including serving as site GM of the Shell Martinez and Bakersfield refineries and General Manager of Shell’s Deer Park Manufacturing complex. During his tenure as VP, Aamir served on Shell’s global Manufacturing Leadership team and was Senior Executive responsible for Downstream performance in Canada. Aamir served as a Board member on a number of industry groups and committees including API, AFPM and WSPA.
Aamir received his Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and resides with wife Susan in the San Francisco suburbs.
RUSSELL (RUSS) FORD
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 Marcogliese has over 40 years of experience in the refining industry. He joined Pilko & Associates from Valero Energy Corporation, where for the last 10 years of his career he was highly regarded and well-respected for his operating and refining expertise and executive leadership. Before retiring in December 2010, Rich served as Valero’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Since 2011, Rich has been advising clients primarily on refining transactions and contributes insights on asset valuation issues and on Operational Risks during mergers, acquisitions, JV formations, and divestitures. His in-depth experience includes over 25 years with ExxonMobil followed by more than ten years with Valero. Rich brings to clients the experiences of disciplined, systems-oriented management at a major integrated company and nimble, execution-oriented management at a large independent refiner. Since 2016, Rich has also been a member of the board of directors of Cenovus Energy Inc, an integrated oil sands and tight oil producer with joint venture refining assets in the US.
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.
Over the past 7 years, Mike has led a variety of Operational Excellence projects for midstream, pipeline, energy and chemical clients, working with corporate officers to deliver rapid, dramatic, and sustainable improvement in operational and EHS risk management performance. Mike has maintained and built his relationship to become a trusted partner with all of these clients.
Mike played a key role in the development of the 8IGHT DRIVERS®, and is responsible for assuring that this IP reflects industry and best practice over time. Mike also provides leadership and support internally to ensure that Pilko continuously improves its approach to effectively serving our client base.
Prior to joining Pilko, Mike had 37 years of operations experience with Union Carbide, Dow, and Hexion Specialty Chemicals, retiring as Vice President of Manufacturing. His experience spanned over 30 sites and multiple process technologies. Mike has extensive experience with Six Sigma and other structured problem solving methodologies, and a proven track record of improving performance.
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 is 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’s passion is assisting leaders of industry optimize operations and mitigate risks. 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 64 invitation-only Transactions Roundtables in Asia, Europe and North America since 2001.
PILKO & ASSOCIATES
We are the leading Advisor to Corporate Officers and Boards on Operational/EHS Risks in the global Energy, Chemical and Related Industries.