Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Shell Chairman responsible for Shell’s descent into cover-up, scandal and shame – Sir Mark Moody-Stuart

The Shell Chairman responsible for Shell’s descent into cover-up, scandal and shame on an epic scale – Sir Mark Moody-Stuart

By Alfred Donovan, 27 August 2004

(This article was written at the kind invitation of Mr Charles Wiwa, the nephew of Ken Saro-Wiwa, for publication in a US newsmagazine circulated to university students. Charles Wiwa is one of the parties in a U.S. Class Action lawsuit being brought against Shell in respect of its misdeeds in Nigeria.)

It is now confirmed by the reports by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and the UK Financial Services Authority that the deception regarding Shell reserves started during the tenure of Shell Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. He is identified in many newspaper reports as being implicated in the reserves debacle. As will become obvious when reading this article, the news stories naming Moody-Stuart came as no surprise to me.

His penchant for hiding information from Shell shareholders and turning a blind eye to blatant dishonesty set the tone for his managerial colleagues. He cultivated the deeply ingrained corporate culture of cover-up and deceit which brought about what has been described on BBC TV as the biggest fraud in history – the Shell reserves scandal. Moody-Stuart is already named in US class action law suits relating to the reserves debacle alleging misrepresentation and fraud. The lawsuits will obviously be strengthened and expanded as a result of the information revealed by the above reports.

The enigmatic Sir Mark, who looks like a vicar but has the morals of a sleazy second hand car dealer, consequently bears a heavy responsibility for the unethical conduct of Shell over the last decade and the destruction of its reputation.

Sir Mark played a pivotal role in my own epic battles with Shell over the last decade and more importantly, in Shell’s evil actions in Nigeria. For some strange reason fate seems to have entangled his family members – his saintly wife, his distinguished brother and his barrister son, in my own families’ unfortunate dealings with Shell.

THE ROLE OF SIR MARK IN NIGERIA: Mark Moody-Stuart was one of the executives at the helm of the Royal Dutch Shell Group when the heroic Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by Shell’s corrupt Nigerian government associates. This was after he had led a peaceful and entirely legitimate campaign against Shell. Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian “Gandhi”, rightly objected to Shell’s unconscionable exploitation of the Ogoni people and its unforgivable despoliation of Ogoniland. Moody-Stuart partly built his reputation at Shell whilst head of Shell Nigeria, as did his infamous successor in Nigeria (and subsequently as Shell Group Chairman), Sir Philip Watt’s.

According to an article published in the UK Daily Mail on 4 April 2004, Sir Philip was personally involved in organising and arranging funding on behalf of Shell to create a private army of Nigerian Police spies. Shell has also admitted using an undercover “Hakluyt” agent to gather intelligence about the Nigerian protest groups. The relevant operative infiltrated and sabotaged a number of NGO’s campaigning against Shell. Royal Dutch Shell has admitted, after the leaking of the findings of a report which it commissioned, that Shell’s actions have fed the corruption and violence in Nigeria.

The Hakluyt private spy firm was run by former/current MI6 agents and by Shell directors (Sir William Purves and the late Sir Peter Holmes), who were the ultimate Hakluyt spymasters at the time. Moody-Stuart worked alongside Sir William and Sir Peter on the board of Shell Transport and Shell used the services of Hakluyt, which was effectively an associated company. Shell has also admitted (in writing) using undercover agents against my family and me.

The evil skulduggery and the exploitation in Nigeria was carried out while Mark Moody-Stuart was at the helm of Shell. It was condoned by him.

Why have I described Sir Mark is an enigmatic man? His wife, Lady Judy Moody-Stuart, is a Quaker. From all that I know about her, she seems to be a saintly person. She supports many worthy causes – for example, she has been a director of “The Big Issue”, an innovative UK organisation which helps the unemployed. It is therefore an unusual combination – a saintly Quaker, married to a multi-millionaire industrialist and banker, who for several crucial years, was the Group Chairman of arguably the richest and most powerful multi-national goliath on the planet.

I wonder how Lady Moody-Stuart felt when her husband made thousands of Shell employees redundant or when he was under attack in respect of Shell’s wrongdoing in Nigeria. I know exactly what she thought about my own campaigning activities involving Sir Mark, because she wrote to me at her own initiative, without the knowledge of her husband. She ended up sending me a postcard wishing my son and me well in the then pending “Smart” High Court Trial involving her husband and our former company, Don Marketing. Sir Mark personally authorised the eventual out of court settlement of my son’s “Smart” lawsuit.

The trial and the settlement occurred in dubious circumstances. In the run-up to the trial my family and our witnesses were besieged and intimidated by undercover agents. Burglaries took place at the homes of key witnesses and even at the residence of the solicitor representing my son. One key witness, a former Shell manager, was too frightened to give evidence on my son’s behalf. The bizarre actions and comments of the trial Judge, Sir Hugh Laddie QC (Mr Justice Laddie) made me uneasy. I now know that the Judge is an acquaintance of the barrister son of Sir Mark and Lady Moody-Stuart, Mr Tom Moody-Stuart. Both the Judge and Tom Moody-Stuart are to the best of my knowledge, men of high integrity. It is regrettable that they have not been prepared to answer a simple question relating to the Trial. I am currently awaiting a response from the UK Home Office as to whether the Judge should have recused himself from hearing the case because of a possible obvious conflict of interest.

As well as being a director of Shell Transport Sir Mark also remains a director of HSBC Holdings – the world’s largest bank group. He has also served as Co-Chairman of the G8 Energy Task Force and is a member of the UN Secretary Generals Advisory Council for the Global Compact. Sir Mark is also Chairman of Anglo American plc which is one of the world’s largest mining and natural resources group – a global leader in gold, diamonds, coal, industrial minerals and forest products.

This all makes Sir Mark Moody-Stuart a candidate for the title of the worlds leading capitalist – one of the most successful “fat cats” around.

THE CURRENT SITUATION AT SHELL: The recent speculation about the rival oil group Total/Elf/Fina launching a bid for Shell seems to originate from a despairing, discredited Shell management which evidently wants to be put out of its corporate misery. Even Shell’s Group Chairman, Jeroem van der Veer, appears to have been overwhelmed by the endless tide of bad news brought about by the actions of an incompetent immoral management led by Moody-Stuart for several years. Van der Veer actually admitted in an article published in the Financial Times on 30 July 2004 that Shell had got things hopelessly wrong and that this is why people are “sniffing around”, as he somewhat indelicately put it.

There is certainly a stench emanating from current Shell directors and senior officials including Sir Mark Moody Stuart, Malcolm Brinded, Maarten van den Bergh, Jeroem van der Veer, Lord Oxburgh, Richard Wiseman and Jyoti Munsiff. In this connection, I have now published on my website ( incontrovertible documentary evidence of how Shell senior management conspired over the years to hide information from Shell shareholders: the individuals and parties which actually OWN Shell. It can be viewed on the webpage entitled – “Published here for the first time anywhere…”

Included is an incriminating letter dated 9 April 1998 received from Moody-Stuart, in his then capacity as Chairman of Shell Transport. In his letter he issued a direct threat against my son and me; not something you would expect from a man in such an elevated position.

RECENT COMMUNICATION ABOUT ME BETWEEN ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL GROUP CHAIRMAN, JEROEM VAN DER VEER, ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL CHIEF EXECUTIVE/MD, MALCOLM BRINDED & SHELL INTERNATIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL/LEGAL DIRECTOR RICHARD WISEMAN: My current activities have been the subject of recent correspondence at the very highest level of Shell. I know this for a fact because I have an internal communication between Jeroem van der Veer, Malcolm Brinded and Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman. The subject was comments made by me about Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and his brother, Mr George Moody-Stuart in relation to the endorsement of Shell’s ethical policies by Transparency International (see below). I am also aware of previous communications at Shell director level with Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, when he personally requested for his son, Tom Moody-Stuart, a copy of a document which I had supplied to Mr Wiseman.

George Moody-Stuart is a director (and former Chairman) of Transparency International and by all accounts another man of the highest integrity. I had merely pointed out that Shell had cited the endorsement of Transparency International in regards to its ethical conduct as being by an “independent” body. Would it not have been more “transparent” to disclose the link between Shell and the so-called “independent” body? I refer to the relationship between Sir Mark, the current Shell director (and former Chairman of the Royal Dutch Group) and George Moody-Stuart, the current director (and former Chairman) of Transparency International. It struck me as ironic that this important link was undeclared, especially given the name of the so-called “independent” body.

The correspondence now posted on my website shows how adverse Sir Mark is to “transparency” when it comes to Shell shareholders. He was not prepared for important information to be supplied, as my son said in a letter to Sir Mark “even on a confidential basis, to the people who actually own the company – your shareholders.”

Other correspondence published on the website shows how Mark Moody-Stuart and his fellow Chairman and Group Managing Directors ignored my request for them to stop the activities of Shell’s admitted undercover agents from improperly interfering with our preparations for the then pending “Smart” High Court Trial.

Moody-Stuart and his colleagues also ignored irrefutable evidence of corrupt practices by a Shell manager in the tendering process for the multimillion pounds “Smart” contract. That evidence is now also published on my website.

To cap it all, Moody-Stuart and his management colleagues also ignored my written request that Shell senior management should rescind their backing for the relevant dishonest Shell manager, Andrew Lazenby, who claimed in his sworn Witness Statement to have their full support. The documents prove that Lazenby planned and executed, with his managerial colleagues’ knowledge, a deliberate confidence trick on a number of innocent companies who were in the relevant tender process. Those companies were ruthlessly tricked and cheated. Yet Lazenby openly boasted that he had the full backing of Shell management at the very highest level i.e. Moody-Stuart.

All of this was totally at odds with the pledges of honesty and integrity given by Shell in its Statement of General Business Principles (the “Statement”). This is the statement which Mr Wiseman admits has no legal standing. Like a bet with a bookie, it is binding in honour only. In other words we all have to trust Shell to honour its pledges as per the examples below.

The following extract is from a stirring reply by Mark Moody-Stuart published in the Guardian newspaper in response to a Guardian article entitled: “Unlovable Shell – The Goddess of Oil” (published 15 November 1997). Moody-Stuart said: “…the Statement provides, for our employees to follow and for the outside world to judge us by, an ethical framework which is mandatory, not optional… just having those principles is not enough. In the past… an oil company could say ‘trust me’ and expect that to be enough. Today, people say, ‘tell me – listen to me – show me’. Trust has to be earned by transparency. That’s one of the most important lesson’s we’ve learned in Shell…”

A further example is from a speech given by Moody-Stuart on 6 October 1997 in which he stated: “The Statement of General Business Principles constitutes a set of basic core values – honesty, integrity and respect for people… We do not bend these Principles. They are non-contestable and non-negotiable. If an employee fails to uphold these values he or she no longer belongs with us.”

Yet Mr Lazenby continued to work within the Shell Group despite being exposed as a conniving cheat and a bare faced liar. Even worse, he was able, as indicated above, to boast that he had the support of senior Shell management for his actions. During this same period we now know that the same Shell management set out on the path of deliberately tricking investors into believing that Shell had billions of barrels more in its reserves than was in fact the case.

Hence I have to conclude that Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is a confidence trickster and an outright hypocrite as his management deeds were totally at odds with his public words and solemn pledges. He encouraged investment in Shell on the basis of it being a principled multinational group working strictly within an ethical code of practise, when in fact it was nothing of the kind, as events have sadly proven. Shell’s ethical code – the much vaunted STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES was a sham. The claimed volume of reserves was a fabrication and a fraud.

DEFAMATION ACTION BY SHELL: Under the circumstances it is amazing that EIGHT companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group obtained a High Court Restraining Order in respect of alleged defamatory comments posted on my website by a former Shell geologist of almost 30 years standing, Dr John Huong. I would have thought it was an absolute impossibility for Dr Huong to come up with any new derogatory comments about Shell (or Moody-Stuart) which are not already in the public domain as a result of past and current Shell scandals e.g. the reserves debacle, Nigeria, Don Marketing saga, Brent Spar, tainted gasoline, etc. Other regular writers (e.g. journalists) on the subject of Shell’s travails are forced, like me, to recycle exclamations of shock, horror and disgust etc simply because we have exhausted the supply of available appropriate descriptions of Shell’s disreputable conduct. Under the circumstances Shell deserves to be laughed out of court. The Judge only has to visit my website and read the posted news stories from around the globe to reach his own conclusion that it is preposterous of Shell to sue anyone for defamation at this time. Their reputation is equated with management deception, lies, arrogance, gross incompetence and cover-up.

Doesn’t Shell management have any idea how bad it looks for EIGHT Shell companies to terrorise and sue one dedicated and previously loyal former employee with specialist expertise and knowledge of Shell’s reserves predicament. Dr Huong did nothing more than make known his desire to work within the boundaries of Shell’s own ethical code – a stance that was frowned on by Shell management – and we can now see why. Shell appears determined to silence this courageous individual at any cost.

Some salient propaganda from Moody-Stuart: “More important, we must demonstrate we really do help make the world better. That includes not just wealth creation, but ensuring that we set standards of civilised behaviour in and around our own operations, demonstrating and expressing support for fundamental human rights.” It is an extract from an essay by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart on 14 February 2000 in his then capacity as Chairman of Committee of Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group (as previously indicated, he remains a Shell director). It is more utter hypocrisy. Shell pretends on the one hand to support fundamental human rights and on the other, obtains a High Court injunction to remove from Dr Huongs pages on this website important extracts from the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

In dealing with ruthless fat cat executives such as Sir Mark, who are prepared to exploit the poor, fund and support oppressive tactics, and inflict nightmarish pollution on an epic scale, we need heroic examples to inspire us. Fortunately we are able to follow the courageous path of a great man, the late Nobel Laureate, Ken Saro-Wiwa, in a peaceful and legal campaign in the never ending battle of right over might.

What is now abundantly clear is that far from my comments in the last decade about Shell management and Moody-Stuart in particular, being over the top, they were in fact bang on target. What a shame that no one listened to the repeated warnings from this member of the Shell Transport And Trading Company p.l.c. – a long term holder of Shell shares.

Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dr John Huong and I all wanted nothing more than Shell to operate within its own STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES pledging honesty, openness, fairness and integrity in ALL of Shell’s dealings. Unfortunately the code proved to be nothing more than a huge confidence trick played on an unsuspecting public with fond memories of Shell’s famous slogan – “YOU CAN BE SURE OF SHELL”. The opposite now applies. The Shell brand name ranks alongside the likes of ENRON, WORLDCOM and PARMALAT – all bywords for corporate scandal and odium on a global scale.


This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.