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Our conclusion, Shell EP boss Malcolm Brinded was sacked

By John Donovan

A self-explanatory email that I sent yesterday evening to Mr Michiel Brandjes, copied to Mr Malcolm Brinded, is printed below.

On a previous occasion when there was speculation over circumstances surrounding a senior Shell executive, Mr Brandjes replied to a similar email that I had sent to him. He asked us not to publish anything further because of circumstances that he disclosed to us in confidence. We complied with his request and would do so again in similar circumstances.

On this occasion, there has been no response and therefore no attempt to defend Mr Brinded from the  unavoidable conclusion that he was sacked i.e. it was not his choice to leave.

We are therefore entitled to conclude that there was no special circumstances in this case – for example ill health – relating to the sudden undignified exit of Mr Brinded. This is in line with information received from insider sources. We also informed by our sources that his departure took place in extreme haste and meetings were disrupted.

Comment from one source: “Basically no idea why he is being sacked (no other word for this). I therefore still believe I was correct in assuming that Voser et all finally got fed up with the promises of higher production and then not delivering it.”

See our article:

Shell Upstream Boss Malcolm Brinded: Mr Overpromise and Underdelivery

– includes link to a leaked 62 page Shell internal document – Excom Early Look Business Plan 2000

Examples of two pages printed here…


I suspect we will learn more about the reasons for the apparent sacking of Mr Brinded and when we do, that information will be published on this website.

We must not feel too sorry for Malcolm. He has millions accumulated in his pension pot from FAT CAT bonuses etc to fall back on and has probably negotiated a great severance package to buy his silence.

MY EMAIL TO MR MICHIEL BRANDJES, COMPANY SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL CORPORATE, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Subject: Departure of Mr Malcolm Brinded
Date: 23 February 2012 19:32:44 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]

Dear Mr Brandjes

As you may be aware, the wording of the recent announcement about the departure of Mr Brinded has generated some speculation on our website and by investors interested in Royal Dutch Shell.

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

This formulation cannot be interpreted in any way other than that Mr Brinded was asked to leave. It also implies that he is leaving under a cloud. It does not appear to be a case of an individual taking early retirement, but instead, being compelled to do so.

The wording in question could of course just be an unfortunate blunder by whoever drafted and approved the content. This possibility does however seem unlikely, because given the importance of the announcement, it must have been carefully considered and approved at the highest level of Shell management, after being scrutinized by your lawyers. I say this bearing in mind that it involves the surprise early departure of the current Executive Director of Shell International and the appointment of his successor, Mr Andrew Brown, likely to be widely viewed as Mr Voser’s heir apparent.

I have today received information relating to this matter emanating from a number of Shell insider sources in Europe and North America. It suggests that this seismic event at Shell took place in “extreme haste”.

Can you please advise if the wording was badly drafted, in which case will Shell be issuing a correction/clarification?

Or is there a medical explanation, in which case we will publish nothing further on the matter?

If I do not receive a response by 3pm UK time tomorrow (Friday), then I will take it that Shell stands by the announcement in the exact formulation as published by Shell on 22 February and has nothing further to say on the subject.

I will also take it that our unavoidable conclusion (based on the wording in question) that Mr Brinded was asked to step down early, is correct.

Our readers will then be entitled to assume, in the absence of any denial by Shell, that his early departure, given all the background circumstances, does reflect adversely on Mr Brinded.

If you need more time, kindly let me know before 3pm that you will be responding and I will then await your substantive response, hopefully to follow in a few days.

Best Regards
John Donovan

EMAIL ENDS

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