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The Telegraph: Shell’s Sir Philip still connected to the pipeline

The Telegraph: Shell’s Sir Philip still connected to the pipeline

 

29 May 04

 

After months of refusing to explain itself, Shell turned on the PR gushers yesterday. The oil giant was positively dripping as it put the best possible gloss on the company’s annual report, which had (finally) arrived. Look! No bonuses for senior management, it spurted. See how we’ve scrapped Sir Philip Watts’ incentive shares!

 

Let’s not feel too sorry for Sir Philip. Shell may have suddenly developed a sense of fiscal responsibility and a love of proper procedure, but Sir Philip will still find £568,000 pumping its way into his bank account each year when he retires.

 

Even that won’t be all, of course. He’s still talking to the company about his severance pay and has designs on another million or so to cushion the blow of his departure.

 

Still, with only just enough to get by on each year as some people take a lifetime to earn, you can bet he’s suitably contrite about his part in the reserves scandal.

 

It was Sir Philip, while head of exploration and production, who overstated Shell’s proven reserves by 20pc. His bullish number crunching helped him get the top job when it became available, but also proved his downfall when his complicity became apparent. Three further downgrades sealed his fate and ruined the company’s reputation.

 

If Sir Philip cannot think of any way of keeping himself busy during retirement, counting his money should while away a few hours. But then, as shareholders have found out to their cost, counting properly has never been his strong point.

 

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