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The breathtaking hypocrisy of Shell bosses Malcolm Brinded and Richard Wiseman

By Alfred and John Donovan

Although this story relates to events which occurred many years ago, it reveals the breathtaking hypocrisy of two people currently at the very top of Shell, Malcolm Brinded (above) and Richard Wiseman.

Brinded is number 2 at Royal Dutch Shell Plc, having just missed out in the race for the top job, won by Peter Voser. Richard Wiseman is the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer for the oil giant.

Both have made speeches proclaiming the importance of Shell’s General Business Principles pledging honesty, integrity and transparency in all of Shell’s dealings.

Wiseman stated in an anti-corruption speech:

“A reputation for integrity is a priceless asset which can vanish or be severely tarnished by a single error of judgment. Shell Core Values: Honesty, Integrity and Respect for People underpin everything we do and are the foundation of our Shell General Business Principles.”

We live in a world of spin but such hypocritical claptrap really is beyond the pale bearing in mind the track record of Shell management including Brinded and Wiseman.

In a recent article we provided proof in his own words, of how Wiseman deliberately bent professional rules. Upset by the production of irrefutable evidence of his rule bending, he falsely alleged that we have been running a provocative hateful campaign against him for years.

Our dealings with these two senior people at Shell arose from a series of High Court actions we brought against the company. It all resulted from the activities of a dishonest disgruntled Shell manager, Andrew Lazenby, who was intent on setting up his own business inside the company to exploit his position as Shell UK National Promotions manager.

THE SMART TENDER

Lazenby deliberately cheated numerous companies who trusted Shell, no doubt lulled by the claimed code of business ethics. Lazenby ruthlessly drew them into a Machiavellian plot masterminded by him which involved a conspiracy of Shell managers. Outright deception was used to steal intellectual property/knowledge and delay/block its disclosure to Shell’s rivals.

Lazenby made the mistake of recording his intentions in documents and in his own handwriting. He funnelled confidential IT information gained from unsuspecting companies under false pretences, to an agency with whom he had a close private relationship. Lazenby also had an offshore bank account into which undisclosed payments were made. His mindset was evident from Shell internal documents revealing his willingness to engage in illegal activity. We supply links to the remarkable evidence.

As will be seen, despite all the pious pledges of integrity and honesty, Brinded and Wiseman gave their unstinting support to Lazenby, even after his larcenous behaviour was exposed.

Wiseman was appointed as Legal Director of Shell UK Limited in November 1992. By his own admission he was involved in the conduct of each legal action brought against us. His involvement increased with each of our successive Court actions against Shell UK Limited – six in the High Court plus a case brought in the County Court. Despite the bombardment of threats and undercover activity directed against us (admitted by Wiseman), Shell ultimately settled all of the actions, paying our legal costs.

As correspondence with Shell confirms, Royal Dutch Shell senior management including (at Chairman/Managing Director level) David Varney, John Jennings, Mark Moody Stuart, Dr Chris Fay and Cor Herkstroter – were involved and/or fully aware of the ongoing litigation.

As can be seen from a letter and extract from Shell AGM Minutes received from Jyoti Munsiff, the then Company Secretary of The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, a host of titled Shell directors, including Lord Armstrong, Sir Peter Holmes and Sir William Purves were also aware of the litigation which arose from the actions of Lazenby.

The mind set of Lazenby is evident from an incriminating email relating to the same project which he circulated to Shell managerial colleagues.

Extract: ““NB: To answer your last point: My note of 25/10 is the official position, my note of 9/9 expressed a personal and pragmatic view of how to handle the problem – it is in fact illegal and is certainly unofficial, and if we were discovered then we will enforce the official legal position - which is that all volume must currently be rewarded with promotional points”.

Companies in a tender process for a SMART loyalty card contract were deliberately drawn into confidentiality agreements supplied by Pamela Marsh who worked for Mr Wiseman in the legal department. Proprietory information was extracted from the companies under false pretences and they were held back from approaching other oil companies in the belief they were still in the running for the SMART contract, when in fact, the decision had already been made to reject them from the tender.

The Smart contract was miraculously awarded to an agency – Option One – which had not even run in the contract race. Lazenby had a close private relationship with senior directors of Option One. His diaries show that he also had an offshore bank account in the Channel Islands (Jersey). As far as we could tell, all confidential ideas disclosed to Lazenby and subsequently adopted by Shell were channelled to Option One. This included a series of proposals we put to Lazenby including a rerun of the Shell Make Money game we had devised for Shell and held joint rights with Shell.

Never guessing that his hand-written diary entries would be exposed to scrutiny in a High Court case, Lazenby made entries which revealed that he was a disgruntled employee and was intent to “Set up personal business while @ Shell 35 yrs = exit date.” It was his apparent objective to exploit his position to create enough personal wealth to exit Shell at the age of 35. He aptly described himself  in an email to several Shell colleagues, including Tim Hannagan, as “machiavellian.”

Naturally we brought these matters to the attention of Shell directors, including the then Managing Director of Shell UK Limited, Malcolm Brinded. Despite overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, Mr Lazenby was able to conclude his Witness Statement claiming unreserved support from Shell management to the highest levels…

Detailed information about the SMART contract scam is contained in the article ALARM BELLS RING OVER TENDERING FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL CONTRACTS

It was evidence from a Shell internal communication that Option One was not satisfied with being just the promotions consultant for the Make Money promotion. They also tried to muscle in on the printing of the Make Money promotion.

We became suspicous of comments made by Lazenby denying a Make Money game was being produced and after checking and receiving confirmation from an inside source, issued a High Court action that Shell settled out of court for a substantial sum.

After the realisation sunk in that Lazenby was dishonest, we took the precaution of tape recording our telephone conversations with him. The extracts are self-explanatory and provide a further indication of his incompetence and lack of scruples.

Despite being aware of the extraordinary background evidence, Shell’s most senior management including Brinded and Wiseman gave Lazenby their backing which explains why he was able to conclude his Witness Statement with the following final paragraph.

147. Such behaviour has caused me much stress and has only been tolerable because of the unreserved support I have received from Shell management to the highest levels as well as my colleagues, and because I am confident of our position. Only because of such support has the intense personal campaign he has been waging not affected my work performance, professional standing or health.

During the subsequent High Court trial, a senior Shell manager, Frank Leggatt admitted under cross examination by lead barrister Geoffrey Cox that the actions of Andrew Lazenby in respect of the SMART tender had not been “proper”. This of course was a huge understatement. Members of the general public reading the evidence would find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that Lazenby was a ruthlessly ambitious, disloyal and greedy individual with no scruples.
We corresponded with Brinded in January 1999 bringing matters to his attention. He replied saying “I am familiar with the litigation relating to SMART and the background to this matter.” He refused to intervene. Our letter contained many references to the involvement of Richard Wiseman (above).

We wrote to him again in June 1999 informing him specifically about the underhand business practices of Lazenby and his colleagues and supplied him with witness statements obtained from two other parties – John Armstrong-Holmes (currently Chairman of Notts County Football Club) and Mike McMahon of Concept Systems. Both had been deceived by Lazenby. Concept Systems was one of the companies which participated in the SMART tender believing it was being conducted honesty.

Our letter contained the following paragraph:

You must decide if you want to be left in a position whereby a dishonest Shell manager is claiming unreserved support for his activities from the highest levels of Shell Management, which includes you, unless you indicate otherwise. If I do not hear from you to the contrary before the case commences, I will assume that you do support Mr Lazenby and I will make this known immediately that it is appropriate for me to do so. My fellow Shell shareholders are entitled to know your position in regards to these matters. You may at the very least wish to check the documents from Shell’s own discovery documents in which Mr Lazenby is convicted by his own words. I will fax the information to you if so requested.

As can be seen from his response letter, there was no retraction of his support. Instead Brinded passed the letter to the loyal retainer Wiseman.

Both of these senior Shell people gave higher priority to a thoroughly dishonest Shell manager who masterminded a corrupted tender process, than to the Shell code of business ethics, the Statement of General Business Principles.

Great play was made of the SGBP in Shell’s Form 20F submissions to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission containing fraudulent inflated figures for Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves. That deception involved Malcolm Brinded who is also associated with the Brent Bravo scandal and the related notorious *Touch F*** All” safety culture.

For his loyalty to Shell senior management, Wiseman was rewarded with his current post where he is responsible for enforcing ethics and compliance. Under the circumstances, that is a sick joke.

A leaflet we distributed at Shell-Mex House in October 1998, before being supplied with Shell discovery documents, was confirmed as being entirely accurate. The graphics at the head of the leaflet featured a pirates flag flying at the top of the building. The headline said: WARNING DO NOT TRUST SHELL UK.

The first two paragraphs were as follows:

I caution all businesses contemplating trading with Shell UK Ltd to be on their guard. In my experience, they are masters of double talk and double-dealing. It has at times proved almost impossible to extract the truth from this company.

Bearing in mind that Shell has pirated a series of ideas that Don Marketing disclosed to them in confidence, I take the view that they should fly a “skull and crossbones” flag over Shell-Mex House as fair warning to all who enter.

We feel sure that all of the companies who spent time and money and disclosed proprietary information running in a rigged contract race, would share that sentiment. The Shell ethics survey results mentioned in the leaflet were published in Marketing Week.

Brinded and Wiseman protected the Shell manager who destroyed the reputation of Shell UK.

Article Ends

Some further detailed information related to the rigged SMART contract…

Approach letter to Mike McMahon 19 March 1999 detailing evidence found in Shell’s discovery

Andrew Lazenby hand-written note recording plan to “Keep rejects holding as long as poss.”: 23 October 1992

Letters from Lazenby to the two final runners in the SMART tender, Senior King & Geoff Howe & Associates both dated 27 October 1992

Andrew Lazenby Letter to companies he had already decided to reject. Marked “Confidential” to keep them within terms of a Shell confidentially agreement imposed on them. Seeks information under false pretences. Designed to keep them holding even though they had already been rejected as runners in the tender: 27 October 1992

Typewritten confidential “SHORTLIST SELECTION RATIONAL” circulated by Lazenby to Shell colleagues Tim Hannagan and David Watson on 28 October 1992

SMART contract ultimately awarded to NONE of the companies in the tender. Instead miraculously awarded to Option One, which was never a runner in the race.

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