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Royal Dutch/Shell close to shake-up

The Royal Dutch/Shell close to shake-up

Saturday July 10, 2004

LONDON: Some of the most powerful figures within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies are willing to concede shareholder demands for a unified board and a clearer management structure, the Financial Times reported, citing several people close to the situation.

Such a move would mark the end of a century-old governance structure whose effectiveness has been called into question by investors in the wake of the Anglo-Dutch oil group’s reserves crisis, the newspaper said.

While observers warn that the company has yet to make a final decision on a governance shake-up, senior insiders are said to favour a move to unite its dual-board structure of Dutch and British arms, as well as addressing the issue of replacing its management committee with a more conventional structure under a chief executive, the article added.

“Small sub-groups of the review committee are meeting shareholders and continuing our dialogue with them. This is progressing well,” the oil giant is reported as saying. It declined to comment on details of the talks.

The development comes as members of the five-man committee charged with changing the governance structure have embarked on a series of face-to-face meetings in an attempt to soothe investor concerns over the pace and remit of an internal structural review. – AFX-Asia

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