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The New York Times: Shell Appoints Voser to Finance Post

The New York Times: Shell Appoints Voser to Finance Post

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: June 24, 2004

Filed at 10:15 a.m. ET

LONDON (AP) — Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group took another step in rebuilding its tarnished image Thursday, appointing Peter Voser to the key finance director post.

Voser spent 20 years at Shell in a variety of financial roles, before jumping to near-bankrupt Swiss engineering company ABB Ltd. in 2002.

He has been credited with restoring ABB’s financial strength, but was seen as unlucky not to be promised the chief executive position earlier this year.

Analysts generally described Voser as a “good catch” for Shell, which has been rocked by dismissal of four senior executives since March for their alleged roles in withholding sensitive reserves data from the market.

Voser’s predecessor Judy Boynton was demoted from the financial director post in April. Group controller Tim Morrison took over the job in the interim.

Caroline Cook, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in Edinburgh, said Voser has strong management and communication skills.

“He will be good at talking to the City (London’s institutional investors),” she said. “His reputation is excellent.”

Rebuilding trust with investors is a key priority for Shell, since the scandal over inflated oil and natural gas reserves — a key gauge of future production and profitability — first surfaced in January.

By taking up the finance director’s role, beginning in October, Voser will also become a member of Shell’s all-powerful Committee of Managing Directors, which has executive powers across the businesses of the world’s third-biggest publicly traded oil company.

In morning New York Stock Exchange trading, shares of Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., which owns 60 percent of Royal Dutch/Shell, rose 57 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.79.

Shares of Shell Transport & Trading Co., which owns the remaining 40 percent of the oil and gas group, climbed 48 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $45.94.

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