I was reading your blog today about Shell’s annual meeting and the dissatisfaction being expressed by shareholders. One shareholder I think summed up the attitude of most shareholders in general, and employees in particular (who are also shareholders in Shell through the various stock purchase plans). The comment about the conduct of corporate management was – ‘… I don’t want to be ashamed (of the way the company was conducting itself) ….’.
Well, I think that shareholders have a good deal to be ashamed of, whether it is the (mis)conduct of the company in Nigeria (oil exploitation), corporate (mis)conduct in the States and South America (pesticide production and pollution), corporate (mis)conduct with regard to the IP rights of partners, contractors, etc., and the defrauding of investors, etc., through the cooking of the ‘reserve books’, and so on. Shareholders should even be ashamed of the company’s past affiliation with the Nazis and Shell’s refusal to come clean on that matter.
If shareholders and employees want to be affiliated with a company they can be proud of then it is they who must hold management’s feet to the fire and DEMAND ethical conduct and business practices. If management believes, as is often the case, that the company is THEIRS to do with as they wish, then the shareholders need to get their collective act together and dump the management team and get someone else to run the operation. By failing to hold Shell’s management team accountable for their poor ethical and business decisions the shareholders are giving tacit approval to the way the company is being managed. The shareholders then become part of the problem, and they are as much to blame for the shortcomings of the company as its mediocre management team.