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The Guardian: Shell appoints new finance director

The Guardian: Shell appoints new finance director

Thursday June 24, 2004

Oil giant Shell today announced the appointment of a new finance director as it seeks to recover from the debacle over the booking of oil reserves.

Shell has recruited Peter Voser, the current finance head of Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), the Swiss engineering group. He will replace Judy Boynton, who quit Shell’s finance job in April after the company admitted in January that it had overstated its oil reserves.

Shell has been forced to restate its reserves four times this year to the consternation of its shareholders. Besides Ms Boynton, the chairman, Philip Watts, and oil and gas chief, Walter van de Vijver, have also been forced out.

Mr Voser, 46, will become chief financial officer of Shell and a Shell group managing director on October 4, returning to the oil giant after some two-and-a-half years at ABB.

“Peter has made vital contributions as a key member of the team that in the past two years has secured the turnaround of ABB,” Juergen Dormann, the chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Mr Voser, who is Swiss, joined ABB in early 2002 after a 20-year career with Shell in a number of finance and business roles in Switzerland, the UK, Argentina and Chile.

Together with Mr Dormann, Mr Voser has won plaudits for saving ABB from the brink of collapse after it faced millions of dollars of asbestos liability claims and huge debts resulting for a runaway expansion and diversification.

The two executives refocused ABB, slimming the conglomerate down to concentrate on power and automation technologies for utility and industrial customers and trimming the workforce to about 113,000 people in around 100 countries.

Shell considered some 20 people for the job, most of them from outside Shell.

“He offers us the best of both worlds as he is an external candidate but with a knowledge of the oil industry. He can hit the ground running,” said Lisa Givert, a Shell spokesperson.

Mr Voser’s appointment comes just before the company’s annual general meeting, where shareholders are being urged to vote against an expression of confidence against Jeroen Van der Veer, the chairman, and eight other directors.

The row over reserves has forced Shell to conduct an internal review which could lead to the company ditching its twin board structure, which has long been criticised by investors for being unwieldy.

The Anglo-Dutch group has two boards: one for Royal Dutch Petroleum, which owns 60% of the group, and one for UK-based Shell Transport and Trading.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/oil/story/0,11319,1246417,00.html

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