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Was Brinded pushed?

By John Donovan: 23 Feb 2012

The Financial Times has described the unexpected exit of Malcolm Brinded from Royal Dutch Shell, as a surprise. Probably an even a bigger surprise to Brinded bearing in mind that at 58, he is still a few years from retirement. It seems to have been a case of premature ejection.

After the equally sudden departure of Shell Managing Director, David Greer (arising from a plagiarism scandal in his then role as Deputy Chairman of Sakhalin Energy), in addition to critical comments, we also received many praising him. We still await any expressing sorrow at the departure of Mr Brinded.

According to today’s Daily Express newspaper, “his departure comes amid criticism of returns the company is making from its assets.” (Page 50, City & Business)

Our own article seems to have sparked an interesting debate on the discussion forum of the interactive investor website, under the subject: “Was Brinded pushed?

One contributor LK Hyman says that we have a long standing grievance against Shell. With all due respect, that has no bearing on what he correctly describes as Curious wording in the press release announcing Malcolm Brinded’s departure.”

The wording that he has “agreed to step down” can only be interpreted as meaning that he was asked to leave. Ruthless, undignified treatment for someone who worked at Shell for 37 years.

We can only speculate that either his past sins have caught up with Malcolm Brinded, or perhaps his executive director colleagues know something that is not being disclosed?

If the wording was a mistake, then Shell could have corrected it by now, but have not done so.

Was Brinded pushed?

13.48 by “LK Hyman”

Clearly some people feel that he was pushed. I have no idea how accurate the website below is, but it clearly represents the views of some, though one has to take anything it says with a large pinch of salt as the founder has a long standing grievance against Shell, which may or may not be justified:

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/

13.01 by “slap-h”

Sorry about typo, but the wording does suck and there are plenty of embaraced faces in the PR camp following the slack announcement.

My opinion is that after 37 years of loyal service any major balls up which would have ended in a polite request to stand down would have made a greater ripple in the halls of chinese whispers.

12.26 by “LK Hyman”

“I think just poor working (wording?) by the PR people”

That seems hard to believe. There is a world of difference between Brinded “agreeing to step down” and him “reaching normal retirement age”. The former strongly implies that the company went to him and asked him to step down. Otherwise, with whom would he be agreeing?

The PR people would not have worded the announcement thus unless the company intended to give out the message that he was not the prime mover behind his retirement.

He, or his secretary, or his assistant (if such jobs still exist) would have told the authors of the press release to rewrite it if he was retiring entirely of his own volition.

It sounds like a bust-up of some kind to me, as Jack_Walsh implies … though aren’t you BP or ex-BP, Jack?

09.30 by Jack-Walsh

Goodness Slap – you’re on message!

07.19 by “slap-h”

I think just poor working by the PR people. Believe that it is a personal decision based upon family commitments and the fact that he is at normal retirement age for long standing Shell employees. Based upon his track record in the last 5 years, it will be a great loss however Andy’s style, commitment and drive for production, operational and safetly excellence will move the company forward in a higher gear whilst reinforcing the foundations that Brinded made.

Wed 15.52 by “mutandis13”

My thoughts exactly from the wording. Certainly would be interested in any response to your question.

Wed 15.52 by “LK Hyman”

Curious wording in the press release announcing Malcolm Brinded’s departure:

“Shell announces today that Malcolm Brinded has agreed to step down as an Executive Director of the Company with effect from 1 April 2012”.

Blimey, that’s only just over a month away.

Andy Brown, who is taking over from Brinded, appears to have done a fantastic job in Qatar, so fingers crossed that he will be an excellent successor. Is anyone who reads this board familiar with how the job changes are seen within Shell?

ARTICLE UPDATE

Since publishing this article we have received what could be construed as a comment in support of Malcolm Brinded. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from one of Shell’s unofficial spokespersons on our website.

LondonLad on Feb 23rd, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Oh dear oh dear. Now who are “Golden Triangle Watchman”,  “an observer of Shell”, Campbell and the Donovan’s et al going to attack every other day now that Brinded has got early retirement? I can’t say he did a good job and I can’t say he did a bad job, but, my first hand experience of him was certainly not as bad as made out by those people I’ve mentioned above. Wonder what mud you guys will try and make stick on his replacement Andrew Brown!!

Basically, LondonLad says Brinded is “not as bad” as others suggest!

As to criticism, it is only directed at those who deserve it. If anything we publish is untrue, then Shell and/or the individual concerned, are free to issue libel proceedings. We will continue to air Shell’s “internal laundry” online as a free service to Shell stakeholders. With regards to Andrew Brown, he does have a good record and if he continues to do a good job operating within (and enforcing) Shell’s claimed core Business Principles, he will not be criticized by us.

We have also received further comments relating to Mr Brinded:

Trainspotter on Feb 22nd, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Good Riddance to Bully Boy Brinded! The biggest mierenneuker imaginable. A very nasty man, arrogant, conceited and a downright bully. Shell will do well without him. Stay off Network rail trains with Brinded on the Board!

Outsider on Feb 23rd, 2012 at 4:58 pm

The quote from a named spokesman for Shell PR (quoted here, but also on Bloomberg and many other sites) that the directors had “decided to initiate change in the leadership to take the upstream business forward to the next stage of its growth and development” should leave no doubt that Malcolm was pushed. The fact that many senior Shell staff only found out about Brinded’s replacement from reading this site also speaks volumes.

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