published on June 26, 2020 - 12:31 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

Aera Energy LLC announced the retirement of the oil producer’s President and CEO Christina Sistrunk, effective Oct. 1.

Sistrunk began working for Aera in 2015, but has been in the industry for decades, joining Shell in 1998 and later filling a global role for worldwide exploration and production in the Netherlands to create and safety programs.

“I joined Aera and instantly knew I had found my work home. I have never worked for a company whose employees are just as passionate about their work as they are about the communities where we operate,” said Sistrunk in statement. “It has been a great privilege to lead a company that truly cares about providing energy for California and prosperity for Californians. We continue to lead the way in delivering energy that meets the highest environmental and safety standards in the world. I couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

During her time with Aera, Sistrunk led the company to become one of the most sought-after workplaces in the state, making it on the 2019 Forbes America’s Best Midsize Employers list. She has been recognized by the National Diversity Council as one of the most 50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas.

Sistrunk also serves on Gov. Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery to help chart a path forward for California during the coronavirus pandemic.

She is planning to retire from work altogether so she can spend time with her family at her lake house in Mississippi. And travel—when safe to do so.

“The employees of Aera have become family to me,” said Sistrunk. “My husband and I are fortunate to have spent five wonderful years in Bakersfield and we will cherish our memories always. It’s been the hallmark and highlight of my career.”

Erik Bartsch, vice president of safety and environment, integrated gas and new Energies at Shell, will succeed Sistrunk. Bartsch, who will be relocating with his family from the Netherlands to Bakersfield, has also worked as a geoscientist in exploration and has served in a series of leadership positions.

“I’m honored to be joining the Aera family. Aera has a tremendous reputation and rich history of both business excellence and community engagement. I share the company’s commitment to safety and responsible production and look forward to taking us to the next level,” said Bartsch, a third-generation Californian. “My family and I are looking forward to coming back to California and becoming a part of all the communities where Aera operates.”

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