Gaurdie Banister

"Treat people as they want to be treated."


"In any organization, people are not assets. They are the organization. Without them, the organization simply cannot exist."

Gaurdie E. Banister Jr. is a seasoned executive CEO who continues to make a lasting impact across the globe. Currently based in Houston, Texas, Gaurdie has held several global leadership positions.

Gaurdie formerly led one of the most successful oil and gas ventures in the US: Aera Energy LLC. One of the largest oil producers in California and the US, Aera Energy LLC is a recognized industry leader for its innovative approach towards lean manufacturing.

Gaurdie has held numerous governance roles and remains active in Fortune 100 public company and private company boards. He was recently appointed as the first independent Chair of Russell Reynolds Associates. He currently serves on the boards of Dow, Inc (NYSE: Dow) and Enbridge (NYSE: ENB). Gaurdie also serves on the board of trustees of the American University in Washington, DC; and the foundation board of South Dakota Mines.

He has formerly served on the boards of Tyson Foods where he was Lead Director for 5 years. During his tenure there he also served as Chair of the Compensation and Leadership Committee and the Strategy and Acquisitions Committee. Gaurdie has also served on the boards Marathon Oil and Bristow. At Marathon he served on the Audit and HSE Committees and at Bristow he chaired the Nominating and Governance committee and served on the Compensation committee.

His career began in 1980 at Shell as an offshore facilities engineer, where he served in various roles and executive-level positions over the span of 28 years in the business. From 2003 to 2007, he was Technical Vice President: Upstream Asia Pacific and Technical Vice President: Upstream America at Shell.

From 2001 to 2003, Gaurdie was Vice President of Business Development and Technology and, from 1998 to 2001, he was President: USA and Executive Vice President: Shell Services EP Gas and Power.

Gaurdie holds a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he received his second honorary doctorate degree in 2007. He received his first honorary doctorate degree in 2002 from the Fort Valley State University in Georgia.

Gaurdie is currently the founder and CEO of Different Points of View: a private firm that provides advisory services in the areas of leadership and safety. He also mentors and serves as an advisor to startups in the energy and technology space.

He writes for Corporate Board Member where he generously shares insights from his wealth of knowledge. He sits on the board of the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity, is a member of the Kearny Global Business Policy Council and is an advisor to the G100 Board Excellence Programme.

His ability to hold multiple positions and excel is out of the ordinary and a testament not only to his skillset, but his character too. His vast experience, combined with strategic and operational expertise, has shaped his ability to lead and innovate across multiple markets. Beyond his impressive list of accomplishments, he is a leader who places a high value on humanity, without compromising on profitability and safety.

Gaurdie prizes his ability to achieve excellent results, but it is the way he goes about doing so that sets him apart. His unique approach is deeply rooted in self-awareness, emotional intelligence and an unfailing dedication to living a life that leaves a legacy. He brings the same dedication and commitment to his roles as a husband, and as a father to two adult children.

Key positions

Different Points of View

Founder and CEO

Russell Reynolds Associates

Russell Reynolds Associates


Dow inc Logo

Dow, Inc.

Board member

Enbridge Logo


Board member

American University

Board member

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Board member

Former positions:

Aera Energy LLC


Marathon Oil

Board member

Bristow Group

Board member

Tyson Logo

Tyson Foods

Lead Director
Chairman of the Compensation and Leadership Development committee



Gaurdie has been described as a people-centric CEO, whose success extends beyond financial gain and is rooted in the development and inclusion of people from all walks of life.


His leadership style is diplomatic and focused on fairness. Thanks to this approach he’s able to share feedback, while maintaining and building relationships.

Health & safety

“Everyday Everybody Goes Home Alive and Well” – these words set the tone for Gaurdie’s approach to safety and operational efficiency in high-risk working environments.


Gaurdie’s work in creating spaces for diversity to thrive is a key component of the legacy he’s built. He continues to focus his efforts on dismantling systemic barriers.

Operational excellence

The combination of Gaurdie’s background in engineering, risk management skills, leadership abilities and personal traits have successfully set him up to achieve and maintain operational excellence in every role he’s held.


With an executive management career spanning over 35 years, Gaurdie’s vast amounts of knowledge and experience equip him with the skills to provide valuable strategic insights.


Association for Manufacturing Excellence award (AME)

World class innovative lean practices in an oilfield setting.

2008 Olympics in Beijing

Delivered $1.5 billion project budget on time, including gas development.

Honorary doctorate degree

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Honorary doctorate degree

Fort Valley State University in Georgia


Truth beyond intellect

There have been times when I’ve come into situations in which the numbers didn’t match the message. I can appreciate the impulse to keep the peace, and however well-intended, these actions can lead to inaccuracies and intellectual debates that set us on a path to trouble. Of course, there are delicate situations in which uncomfortable truths are better shared in private to maintain levels of dignity and respect in the moment.

In fact, I highly value alternative points of view. Each brings an opportunity to peer through an additional lens. These become windows of understanding that support a clearer and more accurate picture that ultimately serves our success.

In business, we thrive with accurate measurements and numbers that add up. When teams want the truth, they work with reality. Sometimes, moving towards truth may require courage, yet it is ultimately liberating. When we share this value, great things can come of it.

Intentional behavior and thoughts relating to objectives and ideals are an essential component when actualizing goals. Rather than focusing on uncertainty, begin with what is known and look at what can be done now. Collectively, each action plays a role in achieving the desired outcomes.

Living a fulfilled life begins by determining what that looks like, based on individual variables. Often, it’s not about acquiring more, but decluttering to silence that noise that comes from internal and external expectations that don’t align with your personal value system. Clear priorities start with clear values; then choices become simple

Work is one aspect of life and shouldn’t be viewed as the only component that makes up a life worth living. Professional success, on it’s own, doesn’t hold as much gravitas as when those rewards are shared with loved ones and even colleagues or team members.

It’s often said that we don’t get anything without asking. Our words inform our thinking, and our actions. As a result, using statements of intention are a powerful way to manifest the life we hope to create in micro moments. Slowing the mind and allowing ourselves to remain present, increases our potential to connect with the brightest and most powerful version of ourselves – who we are at our core. At the same time, by focusing on positive outcomes we’re more likely to attract those too.

This is said in contrast to treating people how you’d like to be treated. Take into consideration that we don’t always understand what other people need, despite having needs ourselves. The likelihood of needing and wanting something in the same way somebody else does is slim, at best. By honoring our diversity and differences, we’re able to connect deeply and grow our understanding of people on an individual level instead of creating ‘blanket term’ expressions of understanding to draw reference from.

Being detail-orientated is a prized trait in most organizations. Even on a personal note, paying attention to the little details makes a great impact. This, however, shouldn’t limit the ability to take a step back and gain the necessary perspective. A view of the bigger picture informs immediate actions, but also removes the weight of being burdened and discouraged by unfavorable short-term outcomes. When you see the bird’s eye view, the idea that obstacles can be overcome and surpassed is not only an option, but something we’re able to believe is entirely plausible and possible.

I have spent most of my life with a high degree of spirituality and honestly do not know what it would be like not to have it. The idea of being part of a greater purpose, and being placed where I am is both refreshing and invigorating. Taking time in solitude is a healthy way to refresh my character. It keeps me both cleansed and peaceful. I support everyone’s own unique spiritual practice.

Press Kit


Gaurdie E. Banister Jr. is the founder and CEO of Different Points of View: a private firm that provides advisory services in the areas of leadership and safety. He is the former President and CEO of Aera Energy LLC, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the US. He is currently the Chair of Russell Reynolds Associates and sits on the boards of Dow Inc and Enbridge. He is on the board of trustees of American University and South Dakota Mines Center for Alumni Relations and Advancement. The opinions express herein are Gaurdie's and, except where stated are not necessarily reflective of the experiences at any company where he has served as a board member. Short Biography Medium Biography Long Biography Disclaimer Download all Biographies

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