Marvin Odum, City of Houston Relief and Recovery Czar

On April 20, 2020, Mayor Sylvester Turner named former Shell Oil Co. Chairman and President Marvin E. Odum as the city’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar. Early on Marvin established four guiding principles for health and economic recovery:

  • Public health and safety
  • Prioritizing vulnerable and at-risk communities and populations
  • Collaboration – valuing partnerships while working effectively with city and county officials to accomplish objectives
  • Longer-term resilience

As Relief and Recovery Czar, Odum will work with the county, business leaders, chambers of commerce, employee groups, and nonprofit organizations on a plan to safely and responsibly restart Houston’s economy. Odum will also lead Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Task Force as they work on strategies to address the challenges faced by the city’s vulnerable and at-risk populations, develop a plan to avoid the resurgence of community spread, and help the city prepare for a future pandemic or viral attack. 

“Marvin is no stranger to working on disaster recovery, as he previously served as Houston’s Chief Recovery Officer after Hurricane Harvey,” Mayor Turner said. “From all sectors, he received rave reviews for the team he assembled, the task force he created, and the collaborations he forged. Marvin is the right person for the job.”


Marvin Odum served as Chairman/President of Shell Oil Company from 2008-16 and was a director/executive committee member of Royal Dutch Shell. In addition to working with and investing in several technology-based start-up companies, Odum is a board member of Europe-based Stena international and Stena Drilling, CEO of TerraLithium and Chairman of AAL LLC — focused on low carbon energy technologies. He is a board member of the National Urban League and MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Dean’s Council for Harvard’s JFK School of Government, advisory board for University of Texas’s Cockrell School of Engineering and co-chair of the capital campaign for the University of Houston which has exceeded its goal of raising $1 billion.

Recovery Team Priorities

  • Work with health officials to track the spread of COVID-19, monitor hospitalizations, positive cases, and ICU occupancy in the City of Houston
  • Ensure Houston maintains an adequate number of accessible and free testing sites
  • Contact Tracing — Ensure each person who tests positive is contacted by the health department within 24 hours of the health department receiving notification of a positive test
  • Develop and implement testing and surveillance strategies for Houston nursing homes and elder care facilities
  • Oversee the spending of Houston’s nearly $405 million Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)
  • Work with Mayor Sylvester Turner’s H.E.R. Task Force to ensure vulnerable and at-risk communities have access to free meals, PPE, and other essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Provide robust and complete access to digital learning for households with school-aged children across the City of Houston
  • Work with the Houston business community to ensure small businesses can recover from the impact of COVID-19