Shell Oil has replaced one of its top executives in charge of exploration off the coast of Alaska.Download AudioAs vice president of Shell’s Alaska venture, Pete Slaiby traveled the state to build support for Arctic drilling and defend the program against its critics.He left Anchorage almost two months ago for a new job at Shell’s corporate headquarters. That change wasn’t reported until last week, in the trade publication Petroleum News. Spokesperson Megan Baldino says it was announced internally at Shell – and is not related to problems the company faced during its last Arctic drilling season.“He led the venture for six years, extending well beyond the typical assignment,” Baldino said. “I don’t think anyone would argue that he leaves behind a legacy of leadership and working with communities and building partnerships. And that has positioned the venture for well into the future.”Baldino says an agreement between Shell and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation to share in drilling proceeds is still going forward – even after Slaiby’s departure. For now, Shell is focused on securing legal permission to return to the Arctic this summer. And Laurie Schmidt is stepping in as the new vice president for Shell in Alaska. Schmidt is an attorney who’s been with Shell for 25 years. She has experience in internal auditing, overseeing contracting for drilling projects, and in community relations – both in Russia and in Nigeria.“So making sure that local people are trained and skilled to work on projects and can apply for and succeed in the jobs that are available anywhere where Shell works,” Schmidt said.Schmidt has already been sent to Barrow and Unalaska to meet with stakeholders since she took over February 1.