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Royal Dutch Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila failed to disclose ownership of Luxembourg company worth €8.2 million

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 12.56.28“It will be interesting to see what happens next. If Ollila (right) did not disclose his Luxembourg interests to the authorities, this was presumably because he did not declare them for tax purposes either. So when others within the companies that he leads commit breaches of inconvenient laws, they can presumably use the justification that they are only following the example of their chairman. Since Ollila does not have any oil industry specific skills to offer, the only reason for his role as chairman is to provide leadership and to set an example as a role model. As such, his conviction for breaking securities laws should be seen as gross or wilful negligence.  I presume that he will be resigning before the AGM.” It is almost exactly 10 years since another dishonest Royal Dutch Shell Chairman, Sir Phil Watts, resigned in disgrace.

By John Donovan

Jorma Ollila, the Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc has been fined by market regulators for failing to disclose his ownership and control of a company in Luxembourg worth 8.2 million euros. He has admitted breaking the law. He prefers to call it “neglecting the law.”

It is therefore interesting to reflect on his past comments about transparency and trust.

The following extracts are all taken from a speech he made as Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc on 1 November 2012.

Extract

“In the past, there was effectively a “triangle of trust” between government, business and civil society, which helped us tackle the great issues. Today that triangle of trust is broken.”

Extract ends

In the same speech Ollila also preached about “Transparency” in relation to Shell’s Alaskan ambitions and boasts about Shell “being open about our plans… This was before Shell’s drilling ship struck the rocks trying to avoid a potential $6 million tax bill.

Ollila repeatedly returns in his speech to the theme of rebuilding trust:

Extract

The goal is to focus our industry around a set of principles to foster open and transparent communication, to increase understanding and more collaborative action. If we are going to meet our future global challenges, leaders in both business and government will need to develop certain critical traits. The old ways of doing business and governing are unlikely to get us where we need to go. There is a great opportunity for global business leaders to restore the trust necessary to address these global challenges.

Extracts end

What a gap between the lofty rhetoric in his speech, no doubt written by someone else, as opposed to his actual deeds. He is a hypocrite as well as being a law breaker.

I was just about to write a concluding paragraph when I received an email from one of our regular sources of insider information about Shell.

The comments in the email will do nicely.

“It will be interesting to see what happens next. If Ollila did not disclose his Luxembourg interests to the authorities, this was presumably because he did not declare them for tax purposes either.
 
So when others within the companies that he leads commit breaches of inconvenient laws, they can presumably use the justification that they are only following the example of their chairman. Since Ollila does not have any oil industry specific skills to offer, the only reason for his role as chairman is to provide leadership and to set an example as a role model. As such, his conviction for breaking securities laws should be seen as gross or wilful negligence.
 
I presume that he will be resigning before the AGM.”

Comment ends.

It is almost exactly 10 years since another dishonest Royal Dutch Shell Chairman, Sir Phil Watts, resigned in disgrace.

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