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BACKGROUND TO SHELL’S 25 YEAR FEUD WITH JOHN DONOVAN

Definition of feud – a prolonged and bitter quarrel or dispute.

By John Donovan

My families relationship with Shell has been described in the Times Newspaper as a war and a public feud.

Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, we actually got on very well with Shell.

A sales promotion company my late father and I co-founded in 1979 (Don Marketing) was responsible for many spectacular Shell promotions in the UK and around the world.

Our award winning “Make Money” game in the 1980’s caught the public imagination and pushed up Shell’s petrol sales by 30%. It is recognised by industry experts as being the most successful promotion in the history of sales promotion. We also ran it for Shell in overseas markets.

The mutually trusting and friendly relationship ended in 1992/3 when Shell appointed a new executive (AJL) who proved to be highly ambitious, but also totally unscrupulous. AJL was intent on setting up his own personal business from inside Shell and was busy funneling Shell projects to a company with whom he had a personal relationship. AJL also recorded in his diary his intention to exit (retire?) from Shell at the age of 35.

Unbeknown to us at the time, AJL was the mastermind of a throughly corrupt scheme involving other Shell managers and Shell’s legal department, who together conspired to deceive and steal intellectual property (confidential ideas and specialist expertise) from innocent participants in the tender process for a major Shell contract.

Some 36 companies wrongly thought they were participating in an honest Shell tender. Many invested considerable time and resources, when in fact they never had a chance of winning the contract. It was awarded to a company that never ran in the race. The company with whom AJL had a personal relationship.

Another objective of the extremely devious plan set out in writing  by AJL was to delay companies from approaching Shell’s competitors by giving them the false impression that they are still in the tender race. Shell signed up each company to a confidentially agreement under false pretences.

I supplied full information about the corrupt tender process to Malcolm Brinded, a Shell managing director. He ignored the irrefutable evidence set out in a chain of Shell documents and communications and inexplicably gave his full support to AJL. The same applied to other senior Shell directors, including Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who along with his well-meaning wife, became personally involved in our acrimonious relationship with Shell.

An email from AJL boasting about being Machiavellian, and another in which he admitted being willing to engage in an illegal act on behalf of Shell, were also ignored.

I have no lingering ill-feeling towards AJL. He was young and needed supervision and guidance, which apparently he did not get. I hold Shell responsible for backing him, instead of upholding Shell’s claimed core business principles, supposedly including integrity, honest and transparency.

The only apology I received from Shell was before the true extent of the damage caused by the unscrupulous activities of AJL became apparent.

Shell did at one time enter into a peace treaty with me, but then broke it.

Shell made matters much worse by engaging in sinister spying activities against me and my family in the 1990’s and, more recently, on a global basis via a large team of unidentified Shell “people” – the description given by Ben van Beurden to former MI6 spies hired by Shell to engage in shady dealings (OPL 245).

Hence the almost 25 years of acrimony that have cost Shell billions and put Shell in a position where it has to put up with repeated publication of extremely damaging facts. There is no libel if what is being stated is true.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

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