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The Independent: Shell appointment

The Independent: Shell appointment

25 June 04

The appointment of Peter Voser to succeed the ousted Judy Boynton as Shell’s new finance chief drew a predictable howl of derision from all the usual suspects yesterday. This is because Mr Voser was a Shell lifer before his brief two years with ABB in Switzerland, making Shell vulnerable to the claim that it sill hasn’t taken on board the need for root and branch change despite the disasters of the last six months.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Voser only left Shell after being passed over for the top finance job in favour of Ms Boynton, who was an acolyte of Sir Philip Watts. Indeed, it is possible to imagine that had the cool headed and accessible Mr Voser got the job, the reserving débâcle may never have happened, or rather it would have been gripped at a much earlier stage.

It is not the finance department’s job to audit the oil reserves, but Mr Voser would have seen the potential for calamity coming a mile off. Mr Voser’s existing in-depth knowledge of Shell and his experience in helping to turn around ABB makes him an almost perfect appointment. At last Shell has managed to do something right.

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