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The Guardian: Damaged Shell

The Guardian: Damaged Shell

“Shell wined and dined financial analysts and others who might influence opinion about the stricken oil company”

14 July 04

Last week’s Hampton Court flower show was undoubtedly a splendid venue when Shell wined and dined financial analysts and others who might influence opinion about the stricken oil company.

But while some board members, such as Malcolm Brinded, did a fine job meeting and greeting, his chairman Jeroen van der Veer seemed anxious to get away as quickly as possible.

It was an event of little consequence in the greater scheme of things but a symbol, perhaps, that the Anglo-Dutch company, with a history of poor communication with the outside world, finds it difficult to change, whatever its avowed intentions.

Yesterday it was once again trying to convinced outsiders things were on the move: Citigroup and NM Rothschild have been signed up as advisers to the steering committee reviewing its structure and governance.

One could quibble about the use of Citigroup. After all this is another big name company that has discredited itself by running up millions of dollars worth of penalties with US regulators.

But let’s look on the bright side and hope this indicates that Lord Kerr’s committee really is determined to “normalise” the business by dropping the dual company system and adopting a traditional one-board structure.

We are told we will hear the results of the review in November. Lets hope there is some new autumnal blossom and not a tangle of old weeds.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1260704,00.html

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