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Ollila appointment does not breach combined code but mocks its spirit

Financial Times: Ollila appointment does not breach combined code but mocks its spirit

“Shell’s appointment of Mr Jorma Ollila as chairman of the newly unified company has been widely welcomed – not least by its institutional shareholders. It appears to have escaped their notice that Mr Ollila will remain chairman of Nokia…”

Tuesday 9 August 2005

By JAB Joll

Published: August 9 2005

From Mr J. A. B. Joll.

Sir, Shell’s appointment of Mr Jorma Ollila as chairman of the newly unified company has been widely welcomed – not least by its institutional shareholders. It appears to have escaped their notice that Mr Ollila will remain chairman of Nokia, though he is relinquishing the role of chief executive officer that he also currently holds.

Nokia is, of course, the jewel in the crown of the Helsinki stock exchange. Were it to move its principal listing to London, however, it would feature in the top 10 companies by market capitalisation – new Shell being number one or two.

One of the more puzzling strictures in the combined code on corporate governance debars anyone in future from chairing two FTSE 100 companies. Mr Ollila’s appointment, therefore, does not technically breach this rule, merely making a complete mockery of its spirit. Time for a rethink, perhaps?

J. A. B. Joll,London W11 2QS

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