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Reuters: Shell unveils corporate governance review plans

Reuters: Shell unveils corporate governance review plans

Thu 17 June, 2004 08:09

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch/Shell plans to reveal details of an ongoing corporate governance review later this year as it struggles to win back the trust of investors.

The world’s third-largest oil group shocked investors in January by slashing its proven oil and gas reserves by 20 percent. Further smaller reserve cuts, while not as dramatic as the first, dealt further blows to shareholder confidence.

Shell said on Thursday it planned to make results of the review public in November and that it would put into effect any resulting changes after its annual shareholder meeting in 2005.

It said it would consider simplifying its board structure, something investors have long called for.

“Amongst other alternatives, forms of unified boards, to which a CEO (chief executive officer) would report, are being studied. Nothing is ruled out at this stage,” Shell said in a statement.

The reserves scandal led to the ousting of Chairman Philip Watts, oil and gas chief Walter van de Vijver and Chief Financial Officer Judy Boynton, and has sparked a probe by U.S. regulators.

Oriel Securities analyst Richard Rose said Shell’s corporate goverance review was a step in the right direction.

“It sends out the right signals, although the review had been widely expected by investors,” said Rose, who rates Shell an “add”.

Shell’s London-listed shares closed at 406-1/4 pence on Wednesday. Its Amsterdam-listed shares were up 0.5 percent at 42.95 euros in morning trade.

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