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No Brits, Dutch or Yanks – we’re Shell

The Observer (UK): No Brits, Dutch or Yanks – we’re Shell: “Who will become permanent chairman of Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant fallen on hard times?”

Frank Kane

Sunday June 19, 2005

Who will become permanent chairman of Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant fallen on hard times? The answer is no nearer today than it was many months ago, when Dutchman Aad Jacobs was first named as temporary head of the restructured group, but some worrying hints are coming out of the notoriously opaque organisation.

People in the know believe that Egon Zender, the head-hunting firm commissioned with the task of finding the right man, has been told to rule out a British or Dutch candidate on the grounds that would upset the delicate balance of power between the two nationalities. But in a more worrying development, EZ has also been told to rule out an American. Shell is a European standard-bearer, it is said, and must therefore have a European at its head.

Shareholders contacted yesterday view this extremely negatively. In one move, Shell is ruling out most of the oil talent in the world. It is suggested that Heinrich von Pierer, the 64-year-old head of German industrial conglomerate Siemens, is among the names being interviewed.

Von Pierer may be a great industrialist, and a damned decent chap. He may even swing a great golf club. But, with three-quarters of the world’s oil executives excluded from the race, how will we ever know? Shareholders should put the question to Jacobs at the imminent annual meeting.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1509546,00.html

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