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The Independent on Sunday: Shell to sing a new tune

The Independent on Sunday: Shell to sing a new tune

Sunday 26 June 2005

Edited by Ben Schneiders

After last year’s reserves scandal, Shell shareholders will get the chance on Tuesday to approve a radical revamp of the company’s structure. They will vote on a proposal to merge the Dutch and British holding companies to form a single entity, to be called Royal Dutch Shell.

For nearly a century, Shell has operated under dual ownership, but this came under heavy fire in 2004 after the group slashed its proven oil and gas reserves by 20 per cent. The scandal claimed three top executives and severely dented investor confidence in the corporate structure and management.

If the AGM vote is successful, the single entity will have one board, one chairman and one chief executive, replacing the existing structure of two boards and a committee of managing directors. Its main listing will be in London and should start trading on 20 July.

Corporate governance group Rrev welcomed the proposals. “The renewed plans are an improvement on the existing arrangements and the structure is more aligned to best practice and our guidelines,” said its chief executive, Tim Sawyer.

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