Vicki Hollub is an Entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum. She happens to be one of the first women to oversee a leading American oil and gas company, as it is pretty rare to find. In the U.S, women hold only 12 percent of leadership roles in the oil and gas sector, which is just a fraction of major roles in the industry.
Journeying through her University days, the Birmingham/Alabama native had a flair for and was majoring in music, which was her dream. What mattered to her was that she would play in the university band and accompany the school’s legendary football team to a national championship in 1979. It was until a music professor persuaded her that music may not equal a career, that she swapped and majored in mineral engineering.
“There was a lot of coal mining around where I grew up, and so I got excited about going into coal mining,” she said, but that enthusiasm soon waned after her first field visit to a working mine. “It was cold. It was wet. I got claustrophobic. So, I had to scratch that off the list.”
Soon after, Hollub embarked on another field trip to a drilling rig. “It just so happened that they were pulling the equipment out of the hole when we arrived, and that was the most exciting thing I had ever seen.”
Captivated by her newfound passion, ‘oil and gas development’, Hollub was prepared to graduate and commence her career in the oil and gas industry in 1981, which she described as a time when “any interview you had, you were given an offer.”
She finally got employed in Jackson, Mississippi, by Cities Service Company, where she worked for over a year, after which Oxy bought over the company. Although, Hollub came to Oxy “by accident,” she was eager enough to recognise her new company was one where she could thrive.
Hollub held different technical and managerial roles in different branches of the company, from the United States to Russia, Venezuela, California, Mexico, and Ecuador. Due to her strong track record and significant contribution to the company’s growth, Hollub officially became president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum in April 2016 – to date, tasked with operations, strategy, and financial management. Under her administration, Occidental cut production costs in response to falling crude prices.
Being the CEO of a company at such a time when there is a major market disruption caused by the Russian-Ukraine war and the ongoing push for energy transition is not a walk in the park, but Hollub keeps maneuvering every hurdle.
The oil and gas sector industry remains largely controlled by men, ranging from business ownership, and employment opportunities, to contract allocations, we see the statistics skewed towards men. This may be due to a range of reasons, such as the idea that women cannot handle the physical rigors of working in the cold and dark mines or pipelines, or women aren’t as good as men at negotiating business deals that involve millions of dollars, etcetera. Whatever the reasons are, we believe the status quo is changing and Amazons Watch Magazine is continually poised to celebrate these women and amplify their stories.