By John Donovan
A posting today on our Shell Blog…
When Peter Voser’s departure as CEO was announced, it was explained that Peter wanted time for his family, hobbies and to give back to society. Today it was announced that he’s being proposed as Chairman of ABB (his previous employer) and he also took a directorship at a Singaporean Sovereign Invetsment house some months ago. This makes his departure story look suspicious. Maybe the board was aware that he overpaid for unconventional acreage in the USA and that his China adventures were quickly going nowhere but down. Is it time for the RDS board to be a bit more forthcoming with its justification?
All fair comment given the controversial track record of Peter Voser.
HIS ROLE AT THE SCANDAL RIDDEN SWISS BANK UBS
From April 2005 to April 2010 Voser served on the Board of Directors of the Swiss bank UBS AG while also CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The content of this article about the bank and his supervisory role in its downfall is self-explanatory.
CONTROVERSIES AT SHELL
Peter Voser worked for Shell from 1982 to 2002 and returned to the company after the oil reserves scandal in 2004.
SHELL ARCTIC DRILLING SHAMBLES
The Alaskan shambles came after Voser launched a blistering attack on BP in relation to the Gulf of Mexico disaster, claiming Shell would have included more safeguards. Two years afterwards, Shell’s own safeguards for its Arctic drilling were found to be hopelessly flawed. The then U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, memorably concluded that Shell “screwed up’ in the Arctic. Shell has invested $5 billion thus far in the Arctic without producing a thimbleful of oil.
By coincidence or otherwise, in the months running up to Voser’s early departure, Shell (and BP’s) offices were raided by EU authorities investigating crude-oil price fixing claims. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced that it was reviewing EU allegations and determining whether to accept the case for “criminal investigation.” The US Federal Trade Commission subsequently opened an investigation alone the same lines. Numerous class action lawsuits have been launched against Shell and its directors face up to 5 years in jail if found guilty of price-fixing.
VOSER ADMITS FAILURE OF SHELL U.S. SHALE PROJECT
Soon after his sudden departure as CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Peter Voser admitted his “regrets” about another debacle, Shell’s failed investment in US shale.
BACK TO ABB ENGINEERING
Mr Voser is now returning to the Swiss engineering group ABB where he worked as CFO for over two years. This time he is chairman of the company. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission fined ABB over $16 million in 2010 for involvement in bribery schemes. ABB therefore appears to be another company like Shell, which makes pledges about ethical behaviour and then does whatever it takes, legal or otherwise, to achieve its business objectives.
Mr Voser will no doubt feel at home as he seems drawn to such companies, as they seem to be, to him.
Former Shell head Voser returns to ABB as chairman: Reuters: 18 Dec 2014
ABB Proposes Former Shell CEO Peter Voser as New Chairman: BLOOMBERG: 18 Dec 2014