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Royal Dutch Shell plc.com site must bear responsibility for its actions

By John Donovan

Two contributors to our Shell Blog have criticised our actions in publishing leaked information relating to Shell. The criticism arose from our publication of my article containing extracts from a leaked Shell internal email concerning the auction of the Shell Stanlow Refinery.

Here are the extracts from the relevant Shell Blog comments (which can be read in full here):

STU: Aug 25, 2009

As for the SEF leak story…I think if this site encourages (actually pleads in letters to new VPs) for material to leak, you have to take a share – albeit just a share – of the responsibility for the sadness and insult caused when staff read materials that are leaked to the public domain. Also, if i understand your latest leak, I think it’s unlikely that any of the receipients of the email would have leaked it to you, and so should we assume that the man elected to represent worker’s interests is now sharing “private” emails with you and potentially other outlets? If so it would make his outrage at staff reading this stuff online first slightly hard to swallow…

STU: Aug 26, 2009

With regards to your response about leaking, I stand by my point: If you encourage and facilitate the publication of confidential material before it has been shared with staff, then you are – and i repeat, only partly – implicated in any distress caused by staff reading this material in public. If SKY news were to run an article on how people shouldn’t pry into the private lives of celebrities, they would have to make sure they didn’t do so from outside the house of a popstar! If you want to feel sorry for people who have read about sensitive issues on the web…you can’t wash your hands if your website was the place they read it. That was all I was saying, and I think it’s fair.

2ndGEN: Aug 27, 2009

I fully agree with Stu – this site has to bear responsibility for its actions too, and one of the outcomes of any site of this nature is that staff don’t receieve news (bad or good) face to face from management, they get from an external and unregulated website. Now, that’s obviously part of a wider argument about the merits of the internet, but to pretend it’s not the case is frankly disappointing, John.

Stu was wrong in suggesting that the leak relating to Stanlow was made by the author of the relevant email, Lennert Klement of A/S Dansk Shell. This was incorrect. The leak did not come from him.

As I have also pointed out, in fact, we did not break the bad news to Stanlow employees. That happened 6 days earlier when they read The Sunday Times article publish on 18 August: “Essar bids for British oil refinery in Shell auction“.

Would we have published the “bad news” if it had been leaked to us before it reached The Sunday Times? The honest answer, is yes. In my view Stanlow employees were entitled to know about plans effecting their future when Shell senior management had not already informed them, as it should have done.

I have printed below a list of the leaked Shell information we have been responsible for so far this year. The details include names of the news organisations who published articles based on the leaked information we supplied.  Sometimes it was news already known by Shell employees but not by the public.

On other occasions it came as bad news to some Shell employees. If it is wrong for this to happen, as these Shell Blog contributors claim, then we are in good company as a host of global news organisations also thought it appropriate to publish the leaked information. This includes The Wall Street Journal. Leaked information we supplied on the Peter Voser restructuring plan, involving significant executive job cuts, was the lead front page article in the Financial Times published on 27 May.

Clearly this is not a case of Shell leaks being published on an “unregulated” website. They were also published in the mainstream media and in my view rightly so. Shell senior management is responsible for its ruthless and often incompetent conduct, not publishers of leaked information.

With regards to accepting responsibility, we do so every time we publish an article. We do not hide behind pseudonyms or email addresses of convenience. Shell knows who we are and where we are.

We also have good reason to believe that many Shell employees welcome our activities, including publishing and circulating leaked information which senior management would prefer to cover up, or withhold from effected Shell stakeholders while negotiations with highly controversial third parties are in progress.

PUBLICATION OF LEAKED INFORMATION IN 2009 (UP TO END OF AUGUST)

Reuters syndicated article: “Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite” published on 30 January 2009 by numerous sources including: –

AOL

CNBC

Financial Post

Forbes

Guardian Online

International Herald Tribune

London Stock Exchange (AFX News)

MSN

National Post

Scottish TV

The Oil Drum

USA Today

Reference to the website: “Copies of the emails are available at www.royaldutchshellplc.com”

Reuters syndicated article: “Shell eyes Mideast growth, to cut some jobs” published on 9 February 2009 by numerous sources including: –

GuardianOnline

Forbes

Forexpros

Trade Arabia

ArabianBusiness.com

Ecomonic Times of India

Reference to website: “Earlier, some employees posted comments on Shell protest website royaldutchshellplc.com saying up to half the jobs at the Dubai operation could go.”

Reuters syndicated article: Shell to stall hires, and get “ruthless” on contractors published on 12 February 2009 by numerous sources including: –

International Herald Tribune

Forbes

cnbc

mnsMoney

upstreamonline: Shell ‘set to get ruthless’

New York Daily News

stv tv (Scottish TV)

Yahoo Finance

Straits Times (Singapore)

BNET

Singapore Retrenchment

Interactive Investor

ExecutiveDigital

World News

LondonSouthEast.co.uk

Reference to website: “A copy of the email is available on Shell protest site royaldutchshellplc.com to which Shell employees often post comments.”

First to reveal news of major restructuring of Shell by Peter Voser: 26/27 May 2009

Financial Times Newspaper front page lead story: 27 May 2009

Royaldutchshellplc.com, an independent website used by Shell staff, said yesterday that more than 30 per cent of senior managers were expected to go.

FT Newspaper front page plus articles on pages 18 & 19: 27 May 2009

FT: Shell shake-up widely rumoured; E&P and G&P tipped to merge: 26 May 2009 5.06pm

Reference to website: “Shell-watching blog royaldutchplc.com says it has assembled from ‘multiple sources inside Shell’ that not only will E&P and G&P merge, but that 30 per cent of senior managers/executives will also go. The company is apparently meeting in Berlin over the next two days and this will all be delivered by Peter Voser, the incoming chief executive, on Thursday.”

FT: Shell clears way for senior shake-up: 26 May 2009 18.53

Reference to website: “Royaldutchshellplc.com, an independent website used by Shell staff, on Tuesday said more than 30 per cent of senior management were expected to go.”

AFP: Shell: the owner of the gas division goes, rumor of reorganization: 26 May 2009

English Translation from French

LONDON (AFP) – Shell announced Tuesday that Linda Cook, patroness of the division gas and energy giant Anglo-Dutch oil and candidate in the general direction, leave office on 1 June, a start could be the prelude a major reorganization.

This will precede the start of the new CEO of Shell, the current finance director Peter Voser, scheduled for July 1st. The latter was preferred to Linda Cook and other candidates, including Malcolm Brindred, leader of the division “exploration and production”, to succeed Jeroen van der Veer.

According to analysts, the announced departure of Linda Cook reflects Mr. Voser to make its mark without delay and to renew the framework of the group, even for a reorganization of its activities.

Peter Hutton, the firm NCB, said that the resignation was “not unusual” on the part of a candidate aligned, adding that Linda Cook was deemed not to get along with Mr. Voser.

However, he said the other main internal candidate for the post of general manager, Malcolm Brindred far to experience a similar fate, could not see its position strengthened by the departure of Ms. Cook, and recover all or part of its functions.

“Peter Voser might seek to merge the gas and energy division in the upstream division + + (the industry” exploration and production “, ie), as is the case with the rival groups BP and Total, in order to generate economies of operation, “he anticipated.

Meanwhile, the website royaldutchshellplc.com, led by Alfred and John Donovan, former employees opposed to the direction of the oil group, has confirmed these speculations, saying that Mr Voser would announce an overhaul of the organizational group Thursday, after a two-day meeting of the principals of the company to be held in Berlin.

According to the site, said that based on internal sources of Shell, Mr Voser actually announce that day the integration of gas and energy division in the upstream division, and the disappearance of certain centers and regional decision removing a third of the senior group.

DAILY MAIL ONLINE: Shell shock as long-timer Cook is first to go in Voser cull: 27 May 2009

Reference to royaldutchshellplc.com:

Voser is expected to use the summit to announce the culling of almost a third of Shell’s senior managers, according to a report on company gossip site Royaldutchshellplc.com yesterday.

The unauthorised site, which has regularly obtained leaks from Shell insiders, said Voser will also announce the merger of Shell’s Gas & Power and Exploration & Production divisions at the meeting, which may help explain Cook’s departure.

DAILY MAIL Newspaper: Shell shock as long time Cook is first to go in Voder cull: pdf version: 27 May 2009

MailOnline version

By SAM FLEMING

EXTRACTS

Voser is expected to use the summit to announce the culling of almost a third of Shell’s senior managers, according to a report on company gossip site Royaldutchshellplc.com yesterday.

The unauthorised site, which has regularly obtained leaks from Shell insiders, said Voser will also announce the merger of Shell’s Gas & Power and Exploration & Production divisions at the meeting, which may help explain Cook’s departure.

Dow Jones Global: Shell To Restructure, Merge Three Units : 27 May 2009

By JAMES HERRON
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) said Wednesday it will launch a major company restructuring, merging its exploration and production, gas and power and oil sands units into two new divisions as new Chief Executive Peter Voser puts his stamp on the company.

Shell’s current global head of exploration and production, Malcolm Brinded, will head up the larger of the new divisions, called Upstream International. Marvin Odum, currently Shell’s Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production Americas, will become director of Upstream Americas.

The reorganization will affect around 24,000 Shell staff. A Shell spokesman declined to comment on how many jobs may be cut. Shell critic John Donovan reported on his blog Tuesday that more than 30% of senior executives at the two divisions could be culled.

At 0820 GMT Shell B shares were down 0.5%, or 8 pence, at 1655p in a fairly flat London market.

Company Web site: www.royaldutchshellplc.com

—By James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9317;
[email protected]

London Evening Standard (online): 27 May 2009

Senior managers at Shell today started a two-day conference where they will be told of large potential staff cuts.

The summit in Berlin comes a day after the oil giant’s head of gas, Linda Cook, left Shell after being passed over for the chief executive’s role.

That job is being taken up by Peter Voser, the company’s finance director, on 1 July. Shell insiders’ website Royaldutchshellplc.com reported that Voser will tell his top 100 managers that Cook’s old division will be merged with exploration and production in a move aimed at dramatic staff cuts. It is believed this was Voser’s platform on which he made his pitch to the board for the chief executive’s job.

Although oil prices have increased hugely in the past few months, at $61.59 a barrel today, it is still way down on the $147 at which it peaked last year, meaning Shell has to cut costs in order to retain its profitability.

Meanwhile, staff flocked to Royaldutchshell.com to attack the group’s management.

One entry read: “Amongst those to be culled are (I suspect) many who are not only competent but who also realised that Shell historically was a bit different from the rest of the American oil major groups. No more. Sadly Shell is now the worst of the oil majors by far in almost every respect. And for those of us who in our small ways helped build a company that we were proud of its not just regrettable but a scandal.”

London Evening Standard: In newspaper: 27 May 2009

Shell braced for massive job cuts in Berlin summit

Senior managers at Shell today started a two-day conference where they will be told of large potential staff cuts.

The summit in Berlin comes a day after the oil giant’s head of gas, Linda Cook, left Shell after being passed over for the chief executive’s role.

That job is being taken up by Peter Voser, the company’s finance director, on 1 July. Shell insiders’ website Royaldutchshellplc.com reported that Voser will tell his top 100 managers that Cook’s old division will be merged with exploration and production in a move aimed at dramatic staff cuts. It is believed this was Voser’s platform on which he made his pitch to the board for the chief executive’s job.

Although oil prices have increased hugely in the past few months, at $61.59 a barrel today, it is still way down on the $147 at which it peaked last year, meaning Shell has to cut costs in order to retain its profitability.

Meanwhile, staff flocked to Royaldutchshell.com to attack the group’s management.

One entry read: “Amongst those to be culled are (I suspect) many who are not only competent but who also realised that Shell historically was a bit different from the rest of the American oil major groups. No more. Sadly Shell is now the worst of the oil majors by far in almost every respect. And for those of us who in our small ways helped build a company that we were proud of its not just regrettable but a scandal.”

The Herald (Scotland): New Shell chief ready to slash and burn: 29 May 2009

EXTRACT

Shell will also set up a new division to handle project delivery and technology. It will be led by Matthias Bichsel, who is also Swiss. Some Shell employees complained on their website Royaldutchshellplc.com that a “Swiss Mafia” is running the group.

ROMANDIE NEWS: Le nouveau patron de Shell Peter Voser imprime sa marque sans traîner: 27 May 2009

Mardi, le site royaldutchshellplc.com, animé par d’anciens employés opposés à la direction du groupe pétrolier, avait affirmé en s’appuyant sur des sources internes que le nouveau patron de Shell allait sabrer le tiers des postes de cadres supérieurs.

“Forcément, il y aura des emplois en moins”, mais Shell ne s’est pas fixé d’objectif en la matière, a assuré de son côté un porte-parole du groupe à l’AFP, qualifiant les affirmations de royaldutchshellplc.com de “pures spéculations”.

Extracts using Google English translation:

Tuesday, royaldutchshellplc.com site, hosted by former employees against the group management oil, had argued on the basis of internal sources as the new boss of Shell would cut one-third of senior management positions.

“Inevitably, there will be fewer jobs, but Shell did not set a goal in the subject, assured of its later a spokesman for the group to AFP, called the assertions of royaldutchshellplc.com “pure speculation”.

529 Dutch Website; 27 May 2009

Volgens de blog royaldutchshellplc.com gaat het vooral om ondersteunend, administratief en IT- personeel. Verder zijn er geruchten dat 30% van het managament zijn baan verliest, wat Shell ontkent. Wel staat in een uitgelekte e-mail die Peter Voser vanochtend aan het personeel stuurde dat “minder mensen meer strategische beslissingen gaan nemen”.

Our behaviours need to change if we want to enable leadership performance in a strong performance culture.

That will mean that fewer people wil make strategic decisions. More people will implement them, and improving performance will be our guide and goal. We will become a simpler place to work.

Fragment van Vosers e-mail, lees hier de hele mail

le nouvel Observateur: 27 May 2009

le nouvel Observateur English Version: Shell reorganizes: 27 May 2009

Tuesday, royaldutchshellplc.com site, hosted by former employees against the direction of the oil company, had argued on the basis of internal sources as the new boss of Shell had decided to remove a third of senior management positions.

China Money 163.com: 27 May 2009

?????????? ????????????Royaldutchshellplc.com???????30%?????????

DutchDN: Snur Shell på hodet: 27 May 2009

EXTRACT: Ifølge royaldutchshellplc.com, som er et uavhengig nettsted for Shell-ansatte, vil mer enn 30 prosent av høyere ledere måtte gå.

DutchFEM: “Grondige reorganisatie Shell”: 27 May 2009

Om kosten te besparen zou de nieuwe ceo van Shell 30 procent van de senior managers een gouden handdruk willen geven, zo schrijft Shell-criticus John Donovan op zijn website. Die informatie zegt hij van binnen het bedrijf te hebben.

fd.nl: ‘Nieuwe Shell-CEO gaat grootscheeps reorganiseren’: 27 May 2009

26 mei 2009, 17:30 uur | FD.nl/DJ

AMSTERDAM (FD.nl/DJ)–De nieuwe CEO van Royal Dutch Shell, Peter Voser, kondigt donderdag een grootscheepse reorganisatie van het bedrijf aan, waarbij meer dan 30% van de topmanagers en bestuurders sneuvelt. Dat schrijft Shell- criticus John Donovan dinsdag op zijn weblog, op basis van anonieme bronnen bij het bedrijf.

Behalve het vertrek van 30% van het hogere management zou het plan een fusie omvatten van de divisies Exploration & Production met Shell Gas & Power.

De bekendmaking zal volgens Donovan worden gedaan tijdens een vergadering van honderd topmanagers van het bedrijf in Berlijn.

Een woordvoerder van Shell wilde niet reageren op het bericht.

Archie van Riemsdijk; FD.nl/DJ; +31-20-5928456; [email protected]

Copyright (c) 2009 Het Financieele Dagblad

koers alarm.nl: 27 May 2009

Gisteren viel op de weblog van John Donovan al te lezen dat Shell een grootscheepse reorganisatie zal doorvoeren. Donovan meende dat de opvolger van Jeroen van der Veer, Peter Voser, a.s. donderdag tijdens een bijeenkomst van honderd topmanagers de actie zal aankondigden waarbij het management van de oliereus niet zal worden gespaard. Naar verluidt zal 1 op de 3 topmanagers het veld moeten ruimen.

z24nl: 27 May 2009

De reorganisatie moet leiden tot een hogere efficiëntie en zou nodig zijn vanwege de sterk gedaalde olieprijs. Shell kon nog geen commentaar leveren op de berichtgeving. De website Royaldutchshellplc.com meldt dat 30 procent van de senior managers zou moeten vertrekken.

AS A SEPARATE ARTICLE

Reuters syndicated article: “Shell to cut 350-450 senior managers in overhaul – web site” published on 30 May 2009 by numerous sources including: –

New York Times

CNBC

Forbes

MSN Money

USAToday

BNET

Economic Times India

Straits Times Singapore

Interactive Investor

Brazil Globo

Reuters China

SINA.com (China)

Google Snapshot

REUTERS ARTICLE

Shell to cut 350-450 senior managers in overhaul – web site

Sat May 30, 2009 9:49am EDT

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) plans to cut 350-450 senior management roles as it restructures to cut costs and improve operational performance, according to a website to which Shell employees post internal information.

The cuts represent almost 30 percent of Shell’s “Senior Executive Group” layer of management, John Donovan, the operator of the Royaldutchshellplc.com website said. Earlier this week Shell announced a major restructuring but gave no targets for job or cost cuts. [ID:nLR946279]

The Royaldutchshellplc.com website was the first to reveal news of the planned restructuring.

Shell declined to comment.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin, editing by Mike Peacock)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Wall Street Journal / Dow Jones Syndicated article “Leaked Shell E-mail Reveals 62 Senior Executive Appointments” published on 22/23 June 2009 and by other news sites

(http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090622-708702.html)

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RTL Z – Netherlands

WALL STREET JOURNAL/DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: Leaked Shell E-mail Reveals 62 Senior Executive Appointments (Alternative copy)

JUNE 22, 2009, 11:26 A.M. ET

LONDON (Dow Jones)–An internal e-mail from Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) leaked to a blog critical of the company has revealed the appointments of 62 senior executives to new roles within the restructured company.

The e-mail dated June 16, sent by incoming Chief Executive Peter Voser, was published Saturday on the blog royaldutchshellplc.com. A Shell spokesman said the company does not comment on purported leaks.

Effective July 1, Ceri Powell, former Executive Vice President, or EVP, for Strategy becomes EVP for Exploration for the company’s international operations, the e-mail said. Dave Lawrence, former EVP for global exploration moves to head up exploration in the new Shell Americas division.

Ian Craig, the former head of the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project in Russia becomes EVP for Sub-Saharan Africa and will oversee the company’s troubled Nigerian operations, the e-mail said. Former Africa chief, Ann Pickard, becomes EVP Australia.

Charles Watson, former EVP of Shell Energy Europe, will head the company’s Russian and Caspian upstream operations.

All the above executives will report to the global head of Exploration and Production, Malcolm Brinded.

Blog Web site: http://tinyurl.com/lsjxwm

-By James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9317; [email protected]

Wall Street Journal / Dow Jones Syndicated article “Shell Email Leak Says US Convent Refinery Income Dismal -Blog“: published on 17 July 2009 and by other news sites

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

AUGUST 3, 2009, 6.13 A.M.

By Benoit Faucon

of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON (Dow Jones)–A Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) list of over 300 vice presidents, some of whom have been recently appointed, available on a critic’s blog shows that the restructuring started by new Chief Executive Peter Voser is deepening.

The list, obtained by Website Royaldutchshellplc.com, was drawn after Voser launched a top management shake-up in the Anglo-Dutch oil major as it tries to adapt to the new reality of lower oil prices. The company, when contacted by Dow Jones Newswires, said it doesn’t comment on internal documents.

The restructuring has already been seen as a factor behind the high profile departure of head of gas and power Linda Cook. But the list shows the changes are now moving from top executives to lower levels of management.

As an example, African gas manager De la Rey Venter is now listed as VP for Shell’s critical global liquefied-natural-gas new business.

Bart van de Leemput is adding the management of Shell’s Dutch onshore joint-venture Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij to his responsibility as vice-president for non-operated European upstream ventures.

Many managers, however, remain at their current position. That’s the case for Mutiu Sunmonu, VP production for Africa which embattled business has recently made headway with some output resumption.

By Benoit Faucon, Dow Jones Newswires; +44-20-7842-9266; [email protected]

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Wall Street Journal: CORRECT(7/17): Shell Email Leak:Convent Refinery Income Dismal: 21 July 2009

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Wall Street Journal / Dow Jones Syndicated article “Shell’s Leaked 300 VPs List Shows Deepening Restructuring“: published on 3 August 2009 and by other news sites

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fd.nl Het Financieele Dagblad : Gelekte lijst VP-posities Shell toont verdieping reorganisatie

fd.nl Het Financieele Dagblad : Google Translation into English) Leaked list VP positions Shell floor displays reorganization

DeBeurs.nl (In Dutch): Gelekte lijst VP-posities Shell toont verdieping reorganisatie

DeBeurs (Google translation into English) Leaked list VP positions Shell floor displays reorganization

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WSJ LONDON SUMMARY

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Shell Stanlow workers offered for sale like slaves in public auction: 24 August 2009

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