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Women in Shell

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.27.03Shell is a very macho culture. There is some tokenism with weasel words spoken about the need for diversity – but little action. Voser’s claim that there are not enough talented women available is absurd given Shell’s financial and international strengths. The reality is that Shell was always run by British accountants and Dutch engineers – and it still is. And they wear suits.

FROM A SHELL RELATED SOURCE

The only Executive Director of Shell (as opposed to non Execs) was Linda Cook. Some saw her as a possible CEO but the reality is that as an American she was disconnected from the vast core of the Shell World about which she knew nothing and learned less. She was tough and had some credibility but when her failings became all too apparent it was often her gender that was blamed. Another more talented American woman who nearly made it was Lynn Elsenhams but again her prospects were not helped by her career history which was mostly in Shell Oil.

Despite its Anglo/Dutch heritage and culture no British or Dutch woman has made it near to the top. There have been some very able ones but they have never made it through the glass ceiling. Closest was Karen de Segunda who was Dutch with a British husband and a firm foot planted in both The Hague and London. She was smart, politically astute and good with people. Sadly a bad skiing accident took her away from the fray and put the kibosh on her chances of reaching the very top.

Shell is a very macho culture. There is some tokenism with weasel words spoken about the need for diversity – but little action. Voser’s claim that there are not enough talented women available is absurd given Shell’s financial and international strengths. The reality is that Shell was always run by British accountants and Dutch engineers – and it still is. And they wear suits.

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