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Nigeria scam hinders CEO's Jag buy

"I said 'hello, I'm Ann Pickard from Nigeria' and the next thing I heard was a click as the line went dead," she says.

So when Shell Australia's new boss Ann Pickard came to Australia, she had more trouble buying a car than expected.

The US-born business dynamo, described by Fortune Magazine as "the bravest woman in oil and one of the 50 most powerful women in business" was vice-president of the company's operation in south-Saharan Africa, based in Lagos, Nigeria.

"I had a Land Cruiser for the five-and-a-half years I was there," Pickard says. "So when I got the chance to move to Australia, I decided to treat myself to something a little more to my liking. I opted for a Jaguar XKR, and since I would be based in Perth, sought out the local Jag agents."

She phoned to order the car but didn't get past reception. "I said 'hello, I'm Ann Pickard from Nigeria' and the next thing I heard was a click as the line went dead," she says. It happened several times before the proverbial penny dropped, so she resorted to email.

Even that took some convincing - and fortunately someone at the Perth premium car dealership took it seriously. Pickard got her car, but that wasn't the end of her dramas.

The long-awaited Jag was soon stolen - something that never happened to her in Nigeria - but it was found again only hours later, and life for Pickard purrs on.