Back from Brunei: Charlene Johnson to head N.L. oil and gas industries group

A former cabinet minister who spent the past few years in Southeast Asia has a new university degree and a new job.

Johnson is a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister who left politics in 2014

Finance Minister Charlene Johnson resigned from politics in 2014. Her seat in Trinity-Bay de Verde fell to the Liberals. (CBC)

A former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, who spent the past three years in oil-rich Brunei, is taking a new job with an oil industry group in her home province.

Charlene Johnson has been hired as chief executive officer of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA), the group announced Thursday. 

Johnson was the youngest woman to be elected to the House of Assembly and the first woman to give birth while in office.

She held the Trinity-Bay de Verde seat from 2003 to 2014 and was a cabinet minister for seven of those years before leaving politics.

Johnson was minister of finance and environment during her term in the legislature. She left for Southeast Asia when her husband got a job there. (CBC)

For the past three years, Johnson has lived with her family in Southeast Asia, writing a blog about her experiences and travels.

She also completed a masters of business administration degree, in addition to the masters in environmental engineering degree she already held from Memorial University.

"While these have been challenging times in the oil and gas industry, the prospects for our offshore look very bright and with greater collaboration with industry stakeholders, opportunities abound," Johnson wrote in the Thursday news release. 

NOIA says her experience as minister of environment and parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources left Johnson with significant knowledge of the oil and gas industry, legislation and policy and the environmental assessment process.

"These skills are critical to speaking on behalf of NOIA's core membership – the supply and service sector," wrote the group in the release.

Johnson will take up her new duties Jan. 9.