Erik Bartsch is joining Aera in July, taking on the role of COO and CEO Designee. He will succeed Christina Sistrunk as CEO and Aera’s fourth top leader as of October 1st. His appointment at Aera builds on a 20-year career, mostly within Shell, involving a range of technical and global roles in the Upstream and Liquified Natural Gas business.
Initially, Erik worked as a geoscientist and explorer to unlock new sources of energy around the world. From there, he held several management positions including leader of the New Business Development Technical team for Canada’s in-situ steam play, General Manager for the US Mid-Continent shales business, and Exploration Manager for Shell’s successful Gulf of Mexico Deepwater business. He also served as a board member for the National Ocean Industries Association in Washington D.C.
In 2017, Erik was appointed as Vice President Safety and Environment for a division of Shell, where he has been responsible for industrial safety performance for over 50,000 workers within 40+ Liquified Natural Gas plants, gas terminals and wind energy sites worldwide. Erik also oversaw implementation of the environment agenda, including improving the business’s greenhouse gas intensity.
Erik comes to Aera during a period of tremendous change and opportunity. Given the dual crises of COVID and low oil prices, his immediate priority is to focus on working with people to support base operations and positioning Aera to thrive in an uncertain business environment. Erik has a passion for people and performance with a focus on building teams that deliver through clarity, authenticity, and willingness to experiment within a culture where people speak their mind openly. He plans to start by taking time to experience how work gets done at Aera and learning from the people who help Aera run safely and effectively every day.
Erik is proud to join Aera because of its long history of safely delivering outstanding value to customers and member companies through the Aera Way, while investing in the people who make it happen. Going forward, Erik wants to continue the effort to strengthen Aera’s operational excellence and deliver a competitive strategy to position the company for the energy transition.
He is a third-generation Californian with family roots in the state. Erik earned his degree in Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, prior to completing his Master’s degree at the University of Colorado. Erik and his family are relocating from northern Europe. They are looking forward to acclimating to Bakersfield’s heat, enjoying backyard BBQs and exploring fishing and hiking in the mountains. Outside of work he enjoys an active family life and early morning exercise.
Erik’s focus on people, previous experience in leading various onshore businesses, working with regulators and government leaders, along with his role in sponsoring profitable greenhouse gas efficiency solutions will all be important ingredients to his leadership, as Aera continues to deliver great todays and better tomorrows.