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The Scotsman (UK): Shell looks to new chairman Ollila to ring the changes

The Scotsman (UK): Shell looks to new chairman Ollila to ring the changes

“Royal Dutch Shell swept aside 100 years of history with the merger of its two boards last month – a move designed to eliminate the failings that led to a scandal about over-booked crude reserves that dogged the group through 2004.”

Friday Aug 05, 2005

Nick Bevens

OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell yesterday appointed the Finnish boss of mobile phone firm Nokia as its new non-executive chairman.

Jorma Ollila, 54, who helped to transform Nokia into one of the world’s most successful mobile phone and telecoms infrastructure companies, will step down as its chief executive next June.

His appointment follows a report last month that the group was seeking a successor for interim chairman Aad Jacobs who was neither British nor Dutch, to avoid upsetting the power balance.

Jacobs said yesterday the British-Dutch group wanted to avoid giving the impression it was “too British” or “too Dutch” after completing its historic unification.

Royal Dutch Shell swept aside 100 years of history with the merger of its two boards last month – a move designed to eliminate the failings that led to a scandal about over-booked crude reserves that dogged the group through 2004.

Ollila turned Nokia from a maker of toilet paper and rubber boots into the top global mobile phone maker, with millions of handsets sold.

He has hero status in Finland and is seen as a visionary by technology and telecoms investors further afield.

Analysts said the petroleum giant will want to make full use of Ollila’s experience in transforming a business – he honed those skills when he took charge at Nokia in 1992, overhauling it in the wake of a boardroom shake-up, cutting away the cables and other industrial interests to focus on mobile phones and high technology.

As supervisory board chairman, he will not be involved in the day-to-day running of Shell, but will oversee changes to the management and company structure, changes hastened by the oil reserves fiasco.

Meanwhile, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, a member of the Nokia board since 1986, will succeed Ollila as chief executive.

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