Interview with Carl Sheldon

Chief Executive OfficerTAQA

"Clearly the developed world has experienced lower growth and in some countries, stagnation. But as a whole, the emerging markets have demonstrated sufficient demand - certainly in the energy markets - for the world economy to keep growing."

"There’s still opportunity - particularly in our home region of the Middle East and North Africa where there are young, growing populations with rising expectations. Among those expectations is ready access to reliable utilities, electricity 24-hours a day, and plenty of potable water. That represents opportunity for us."

"In turbulent times, a company making long-term investments can’t always be sure that the regulatory regime won’t change or that the government won’t intervene in the marketplace."

" our business, we have to be careful to form lasting relationships with our host governments. We’re not trading in and out of financial positions. We’re investors for the long-term. So managing our relations with host governments is crucial to how we operate."

"Managing a spectrum of regulatory risk - at the municipal, regional, national, and sometimes super-national level - is intrinsic to how we operate. And in times of political upheaval, the risk matrix becomes even more difficult to manage."

"We build redundancy into our systems in the event of accidents, disasters or political unrest. That’s just part and parcel of planning and risk management."

"Since we’re running scale businesses at a distance, every person leading each of those businesses is invested with trust from the centre. The leaders of our businesses have the authority to make decisions about the business they run. And these are big businesses."

"Part of becoming agile is creating a culture that invests its people with trust. Guidance from the centre revolves around business objectives and resource planning. But there isn’t command-and-control from the centre."

"Stakeholder management is very important to us. Being in the power and water business, our stakeholder communities are quite numerous. They include our employees, customers, the communities we operate in, our host governments, and then, obviously, our own shareholders, financiers and suppliers."

"I think the role of business in society is poorly understood. Wealth creation is fundamental to a successful society. And the agency in society that creates wealth is business. Government can’t do it. Organised religion can’t do it. The military can’t do it. The single agent in society that creates wealth is business - and wealth creation is fundamental to human progress."

"While business must be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders, stakeholders, in turn, must acknowledge that the only agency we’ve got for creating society’s wealth is business."

Carl was previously TAQA’s General Counsel and Deputy General Manager. Prior to joining TAQA, he was a Partner at Allen & Overy LLP where his main focus was the energy sector. He was involved in major power projects throughout the US and Europe and large scale oil and gas development projects in the Americas, Africa, the North Sea, the Arabian Gulf and the Caucasus. He also ran the firm’s German and US operations. Carl is a qualified lawyer admitted to practice in New York and in the UK. Carl is a US national and holds an MA from the University of Cambridge.
  These interviews contain the opinions and views of the CEOs interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of PwC.


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