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Jorma Ollila, tainted departing chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc

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“During Ollila’s time at the helm, Shell has spent hundreds of billions on new projects and lavished generous pay deals on its executives, leading to several protest votes by big investors.”

By John Donovan

The Sunday Times reported on the front page of its business section on 8 June 2014 the news that Shell has started a search for a new chairman to replace the tainted Finn, Jorma Ollila. 

Extract

“During Ollila’s time at the helm, Shell has spent hundreds of billions on new projects and lavished generous pay deals on its executives, leading to several protest votes by big investors.”

Mr Ollila was recently 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.”

The Sunday Times article by Danny Fortson mentions the Shell reserves scandal, the recent shock profits warning, and plans by the new CEO, Ben van Beurden to slash Shell’s spending by $35bn this year, cut Shell American exploration staff by 20% and sell $15bn of assets by 2015. 

If published comments by The Observer are accurate, Ben van Beurden must have had inside knowledge about the reserves scandal.

He was right there in the thick of the intrigue and cover-up.  

“Van Beurden knows what failure looks like, as he was a personal assistant to former chairman Sir Philip Watts when Watts was axed over the reserves scandal of 2004.”

The executive directors responsible for the debacle were given huge multimillion dollar payoffs to buy their silence and the policy of lavish rewards for incompetence, negligence and failure have continued ever since at Shell. 

The famous catchphrase from the late great comedian Terry-Thomas comes to mind, delivered in his upper-class voice: “You’re an absolute shower”

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