By John Donovan
On 30 January we broke the news of Shell’s decision to make “tough choices” in reaction to the collapse in oil prices. Shell confirmed to Reuters that the Shell internal emails from CEO Jeroen van der Veer and Executive Director Malcolm Brinded we published were authentic. Quotes from the emails were featured in the Reuters article: Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite
Notability, the warning by Brinded of “touch choices” did not extend to him giving up his fat cat retention bonus.
In relation to Shell’s employee safety, Brinded admitted in his email, not meant for public consumption, that “Shell had a “dreadful start” to this year after 10 contractors and one third party were killed in three incidents”.
On 9 February, Reuters published a follow-up article reporting: “some employees posted comments on Shell protest website
royaldutchshellplc.com saying up to half the jobs at the Dubai operation could go.”
A few days later we published a Shell internal email sent on behalf of Chris Haynes, Shell Vice President Technical, EPT Projects demanding a ruthless review of third parties costs and plans to “trim” the work force. This was reported in the Reuters article: Shell to stall hires and get “ruthless” on contractors
On 26 May, we announced the major restructuring of Royal Dutch Shell being discussed at a conference of several hundred Shell executives in Berlin. The meeting became known as “The Funeral in Berlin”. Shell took several days before confirming the story, which by then had resulted in many news articles, including a front page lead story in the Financial Times acknowledging our role in breaking the story.
A Reuters article said: The Royaldutchshellplc.com website was the first to reveal news of the planned restructuring.
In June, The Wall Street Journal reported “Leaked Shell E-mail Reveals 62 Senior Executive Appointments”. This time the leaked email was from Peter Voser, the then incoming CEO of RDS Plc.
The restructuring continues and deepens with the news that 10,000 Shell employees may be culled. Under the circumstances, it seems reasonable to forecast that a growing number of disgruntled former Shell employees will join those already using our Shell Blog to make their feelings known about being “culled” at a time when it is difficult to find new jobs.
The fat cats at the top of Shell will of course profit from the savage cuts, boosting their already obscene remuneration packages, including pensions pots worth several millions of pounds.