A well paid “Jobsworth” on the Shell board
The extent of the shareholder revolt against Shell’s “golden handcuffs” plans should lead not only to an immediate rethink of the proposal but to the resignation of non-executive director Sir Peter Job.
Job is on the Shell board with a primary role for overseeing the integrity of senior executive remuneration. Quite what qualifies Sir Peter for this onerous, but well remunerated, role is unclear but shareholders at the Annual General Meeting of Royal Dutch Shell had a good chance to see him at work on this subject. He bluffed and blundered to little effect and showed precious little understanding of the issues. There was absolutely no justification given for the scandalous “retention bonuses” and a series of oxymoronic non-sequiturs from the well-upholstered Job did not lead to one. The bonuses are designed to keep the three executives (Malcolm Brinded, Linda Cook and Peter Voser) in the company, but, Job assured us, they are all uber-loyal to Shell and have no intention of leaving. Hmmm! Work that one out!
And Job’s justification for the fat cat gravy train was interesting (and ignorant) as well. He frequently mentioned Shell’s record profits as a reason to reward the Board so handsomely. But, as any fule knows, oil company profits in the short and medium term are almost wholly dependent on the movement of the oil price – a factor over which no oil company CEO or Director has any control at all. Finally the revelation that the high-priced help got a substantial bonus despite not reaching their target to be number 3 in the multinational oil performance tables (Shell was fourth out of five) showed what a farce the whole thing is.
Sir Peter Job is the conscience of the shareholders as a non-executive Director in respect of the matter of remuneration. A huge number of shareholders have wrapped him and Shell hard over the knuckles. He should walk the plank.
© May 2008
Paddy Briggs worked for Shell for 37 years during the last fifteen of which he was responsible for Brand management in a number of appointments. He was the winner of the Shell/Economist writing prize (internal) in 2001. Paddy retired from Shell in 2002 to form the brand consultancy BrandAware and to write and speak on brand and reputation matters. He is also active as a director of training courses on brand and reputation management. Paddy is also a sports journalist and a member of the Sports Journalists Association and the Cricket Writers Club. He has had weekly columns in the Bahrain Tribune, the Khaleej Times, the Emirates Evening Post and Ameinfo. Paddys book of light verse Jumeira Jane was published in Dubai in 2001 and the first edition print run of 5000 copies was sold out.
Paddy Briggs website: www.Brandaware.co.uk