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Editorial Integrity of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell”

In fact all three Shell members of the editorial committee, Watts, Van der Veer and Munsiff, had form in the culture of corporate cover-up and were therefore ideal from the standpoint of Shell to have editorial influence over inclusion (or non-inclusion) of the dark side of Shell’s history and how that information was treated (spun?)

By John Donovan

The official history of Royal Dutch Shell published in three volumes in 2007 was commissioned by the company and authored by historians associated with Utrecht University who were given unrestricted access to Royal Dutch Shell archives.

The relevant historians, who describe themselves as the researchers and authors of the work, say that none of them are Shell employees and claim that the work is “the fruit of our independent research” with their progress “monitored by an editorial committee, with an equal number of economic historians and company representatives.”

However, confidence in the overall integrity of the process is somewhat undermined by my personal knowledge about three out of the four Shell senior executives/officials who served on that editorial committee.

Sir Phillips Watts (aka The Reverend Sir Philip Watts), a Royal Dutch Shell Group Chairman, was forced to resign from the company as a result of a gigantic fraud involving the falsification of Shell’s claimed oil and gas reserves.

Jeroen van der Veer, who became CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc following the reserves scandal, had signed Form 20-F declarations filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission containing materially false information about Shell’s reserves. He knew about the fraud long before the information was revealed to shareholders and a shocked world. I am sure that Mr Bill Campbell, the former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International would willingly testify to the integrity of Jeroen van der Veer (or rather the lack of it) in relation to the Brent Bravo “TFA” Scandal.

Jyoti Munsiff, a former Company Secretary of Shell Transport & Trading Company and most recently (before her retirement) the first Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, took part in a high level strategy involving Shell Transport & Trading Co Chairman, Mark Moody-Stuart and Shell UK General Counsel, Richard Wiseman, to prevent information embarrassing to Shell from reaching shareholders in the company. I have the evidence to prove it. It was part of a cover-up of a cover-up.

In fact all three Shell members of the editorial committee, Watts, Van der Veer and Munsiff, had form in the culture of corporate cover-up and were therefore ideal from the standpoint of Shell to have editorial influence over inclusion (or non-inclusion) of the dark side of Shell’s history and how that information was treated (spun?).

Much of the information about the historians comes from the General Introduction, pages 5 to 9 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell Volume 1.”

The team of historians were no doubt handsomely rewarded and well treated over a long period of time. Under the circumstances, they are bound to have felt some obligation to their generous sponsor, even if manifested as unconscious bias towards Shell.

Although all of the historians are no doubt people of the highest integrity, they cannot, under the circumstances, be considered as independent. If their treatment of the history of Shell/Deterding association with the Nazis and Hitler is any guide, that lack of independence is in my humble opinion, reflected in their work.

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