Meet the Scientists

Yuri Sebregts

Yuri Sebregts

Executive Vice President Technology and Chief Technology Officer

Yuri Sebregts was appointed Executive Vice President Technology in March 2018. He leads a global Technology organisation, which combines technical, scientific and commercial expertise. These teams are based at Shell’s major technology centres in Amsterdam, Houston and Bangalore, and at smaller technical centres located close to Shell’s customers and partners.

Yuri is responsible for Shell’s technology strategy and new technology development, as well as external technology commercialisation activities. These range from research and development (R&D) programmes delivered in-house and through collaborations with external partners, to deployment of technologies across Shell’s operations, as well as catalyst manufacturing and sales, and technology licensing and technical services to third parties. Yuri also oversees the company’s digitalisation activities to apply proven and new digital technology solutions to Shell’s existing businesses and emerging new business models.

Previously Yuri was Executive Vice President Innovation and R&D since January 2015. He has held several technical and commercial positions including in Shell’s Chemicals, Lubricants and Refining businesses.

He completed his MSc in chemistry at Leiden University in the Netherlands and joined Shell as a technologist at the Shell Moerdijk Chemical plant in 1991.

Yuri is married with two daughters and lives in the Netherlands.

Speeches and articles

28 January 2021: Yuri Sebregts – Enabling solar as a primary energy source

Alexander van der Made

Alexander van der Made

Chief Scientist Chemistry

Alexander was appointed in October 2020 as Shell’s Chief Scientist for Chemistry to underpin the importance of chemistry for Shell’s current processes as well as those emerging in the energy transition such as CO2 capture and conversion, electrolysis and energy storage. By collaborating with experts in a wide range of disciplines in Shell and at universities and institutes around the world on projects ranging from discovery-type R&D to demonstration at scale he aids Shell’s strategic thinking and technical capability building to thrive in the energy transition.

From 2009 to 2020, he acted as a senior principal scientist “future energy systems / chemistry & catalysis” at the Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam and in Shell China (Beijing).

Joining Shell in 1989, Alexander conducted research in research centers in Europe and the USA for Shell Chemicals on new polymers (dendrimers), coatings, molecular modeling, statistics, oxidation reactions, catalysts for CO conversions such as carbonylation and polyketone polymers, and scale-up and implementation of novel catalysts.

In 1999, he was appointed as programme manager in Shell’s GameChanger team. In 2003 he worked on valuation and monetisation of Shell technologies and started setting up R&D collaborations with Chinese universities. Between 2004 – 2006 he held a commercial and strategy role in Shell Chemicals Europe (HODer) in Rotterdam. From 2006 to 2009 he worked for Shell’s first Chief Technology Officer and was in charge of setting up research co-operations in China and a corporate long range research programme for emerging technologies.

Alexander is a chemist who graduated cum laude from Utrecht University with an MSc in Chemistry/Biology/Economics and PhD in Chemistry in 1988, specialising in physical organic chemistry. He conducted post-doctoral research on supramolecular chemistry with Nobel laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart (then at Sheffield University). He holds an MBA from Nyenrode University / Universitity of Berne / University of Rochester.

Alexander calls himself a technology omnivore, is passionate about the role of (technologies from) Asia in the energy transition and is personally involved in many R&D collaborations in Europe and China. He holds a visiting professorship at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is a member of several industrial advisory boards of EU projects.

Detlef Hohl

Chief Scientist Head Shots The Netherlands STCA 2017

Chief Scientist Computation and Data Science

Detlef Hohl holds a Master's degree in chemistry from Technical University of Munich and a PhD in theoretical physics from Technical University of Aachen (Germany). Before joining Shell in 1997, he was senior scientist at the German National Laboratory Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Detlef started at Shell’s Bellaire Technology Center in seismic imaging research, then moved to Promise seismic inversion R&D, and became R&D team leader for Quantitative Reservoir Management in 2006. From 2010-2017 he was General Manager Computation and Modeling where he led a project portfolio in data analytics, computational engineering and materials science, geoscience and petroleum engineering.

Detlef is adjunct professor at Rice University (Computational and Applied Math) and University of Houston, and visiting scholar at the UK National data science laboratory Alan Turing Institute. He held various temporary and visiting positions at NCSA, SISSA Trieste, NIST and Stanford University. 

Dirk Smit

Dirk Smit

Chief Scientist Geophysics

Dirk obtained a PhD in mathematical physics before teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He joined Shell in 1992 and his roles have included chief geophysicist for Shell UK and technology manager for Global Exploration. Currently he is Vice President of Exploration Technology.

Dirk also holds a visiting faculty position in the Earth Science department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and has a visiting professorship in Geoscience at the Chinese University of Petroleum in Beijing, China.

He was awarded the Ludwig Mintrop Award in geophysics by the European Association of Geophysicists and Engineers in 2002.

He is a member of the National Research Council on Solid Earth Observations in the USA, the National Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter, and the physics branch of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Jeremy Shears

Jeremy Shears

Chief Scientist Biosciences

Jeremy Shears was appointed Chief Scientist for Biosciences at Shell in 2018 to lead the company’s strategic thinking and innovation agenda in bioscience. He works with experts within Shell, as well as with researchers from top universities and institutes around the world, to help the company stay at the forefront of the energy transition. Focus areas include bioenergy, Nature Based Solutions (natural ecosystems as carbon sinks) and subsurface microbiology.

Prior to his current role, Jeremy was General Manager for the Biodomain R&D group in Shell Projects & Technology for 9 years. He led technology development from early stage research through to commercial deployment at Shell’s technology centres in Houston, Amsterdam and Bangalore.

Jeremy joined Shell in 1986 and has held various commercial and technology leadership positions in the UK, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore, spanning a variety of Shell’s businesses including New Energies, Chemicals, Lubricants, Biofuels and Product Safety & Risk Assessment.

He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He sits on a number of advisory boards, including the UK’s Innovation Strategy Board for the chemistry-using industries and the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum, Genome Canada, the North-East Centre for Energy Materials, and the Solar Fuels Network.

John Lockemeyer

John Lockemeyer

Chief Scientist Catalysis

John was appointed Shell Chief Scientist for Catalysis in October 2020 to provide technical leadership and advise on strategy in areas involving catalysis and related fields. Passionate about inventions that help solve the world’s chemical and energy challenges, John enjoys collaborating globally with scientists in Shell and at universities and technical organisations on projects ranging from fundamental R&D to world scale deployment.

John’s career has focused on heterogeneous and homogenous catalysis, inorganic chemistry, and materials synthesis. He earned his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Delaware, and following a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign joined the Catalysis Department at Shell in 1989. Since then he has been involved in catalyst development programs including hydrocracking, olefin epoxidation, acetoxylation, Fischer-Tropsch, and a variety of other systems at locations in USA, Europe, and India. For his contributions to the field of epoxidation John was honoured as the recipient of the 2018 Southwest Catalysis Society Award for Excellence in Applied Catalysis.

Familiar with application of invention, John is an inventor on 36 issued US Patents, 35 issued European Patents, and numerous patents in international jurisdictions. Participating in conferences worldwide, he has often been involved as a speaker and conference organiser. In 2010 John served as the elected Chair of the Gordon Conference on Inorganic Chemistry.

Rolf van Benthem

Rolf van Benthem

Chief Scientist for Materials Science – Polymers

Rolf joined Shell and was appointed in January 2022 as Shell’s Chief Scientist for Materials Science – Polymers. He will drive the company’s thought leadership in polymers and lead the underlying polymer science and associated innovation potential, to help deliver Shell’s future success.

Polymers are a vital ingredient in products that help us live, work, care and respond to climate change. Polymers are also current and future enablers to Shell’s businesses with demand expected to grow, especially in the field of renewable polymers, for example polymers with enhanced circularity, bio-based feedstock and/or biodegradability. Moreover, there are further opportunities for advanced materials for the energy transition, for example materials associated with batteries, hydrogen, electrification, carbon sinks or light weighting.

In his Chief Scientist role, he leverages his knowledge and experience in polymer science, as well as his leadership in competence management and internal and external collaborations, to the benefit of Shell’s businesses in the broadest possible context.

Rolf started his career as a synthetic organic chemist, and obtained his Master’s at the University of Leiden in 1991 and his PhD at the University of Amsterdam in 1995. Joining DSM in that same year, he was exposed to the industrial innovation challenges in resins and coating technology. Over the years he developed a broader science interest in materials and polymer chemistry. In combination with his broad external network, and strong business connect, this resulted in multiple successful and patented innovations for most of DSM’s Materials businesses, and especially the Emerging Business Areas (Biomedical, Advanced Solar, Additive Manufacturing). As Corporate Scientist (2010-2015) and Corporate Science Fellow (2015-2021) he was responsible for the competence area Macromolecular Sciences, and represented DSM Materials in the “MT Science”, led by the CTO. Shaping the Corporate Research Program to the longer-term business innovation needs, together with other Fellows and the Principal Scientists involved, he ensured strategic competence development to a world-class level as acknowledged by the Scientific Advisory Board.

Since 2002, Rolf is appointed part-time Professor in Coatings Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology. His academic interests involve finding new functions for thin films and materials surfaces (including self-healing and surface-replenishing materials), and is currently working on topics like bio-inspired friction reduction and bio-inspired silica nanostructures, dynamic covalent networks and vitrimers, responsive vesicles, and circular as well as biobased polymer materials.

He founded and chaired the Coatings Science International conference (“COSI”, 2005 – 2014) and still serves on the COSI Organizing Committee. He is also a member of the Round Table Chemistry of the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO) and the NWO Materials Committee.

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