Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image Leaked Shell Internal Email received from a Shell Insider

From a Shell Insider

Dear Alfred

When I saw this one I thought this was a joke, trying to outdo Dogbert of Scott Adams Dilbert. But this is serious matter, sent from a very senior Finance manager. Scott Adams manages to get the message across in 3 pictures. But it now is clear that the top of the Finance community in Europe has gone stark raving mad.

He must have cracked under the pressure of all the ‘process apparatchicks’. This is what continuous exposure to mad and obsessed ‘leaders’ can do to what was once a first class brain!!
I could not even complete reading all the utter nonsense.

And believe me, it is not an april’s fool joke!

Kind regards


Dear Shell Insider

I have published the Shell internal email below.

Thank you for this fine example of Shell speak.

Kind regards


—–Original Message—–
From: Jones, Julie SIEP-EPF-E On Behalf Of Robbe, Engelhardt SIEP-EPF-E
Sent: 03 March 2006 15:08
To: GX SIEP EPF-E All; GX SEPI EPE Level II; Henry, Simon P SIEP-EPF; Ten Brink, Martin J SIEP-EPF-CT
Subject: Performance Improvement in Finance following Root Cause Analysis


I want to make you aware of a number of upcoming changes in the Finance Directorate. First of all I want to inform you on the outcome of the Root Cause Analysis and some organisational changes I have decided upon. We will stay the course as far as the organisational model is concerned but will make certain enhancements to enable us to work more effectively. We need to restore the EPE Finance organisation’s ability to effectively deliver on our base load and to effectively contribute to the delivery of the Global Finance Plan and the EPE Business Plan. I believe we have made some positive changes already following the creation of the Task Force. The structure and discipline this has provided via improved Work Plan management methodologies is helping already to manage cross-departmental activities and projects. We will continue on that path. However, it is clear that some structural changes in the organisation, modus operandi and resourcing are needed to improve our capability to manage change, to deliver our EPF-E Functional Plan and to drive a series of simplification and improvement projects using RBI methodologies. I do believe that we have the potential to become a world class Finance organisation. However, it is critical that we build on the findings of the Root Cause Analysis, accelerate our current improvement efforts and effectively embed the changes initiated by the Task Force to enable us to deliver on our commitments to internal and external customers and to help us to restore pride and confidence in the EPE Finance organisation.

Root Cause Analysis

In the first half of February we conducted the Root Cause Analysis to identify those factors – behaviours, processes, systems, etc – that were central to the continued performance and people issues in EPE Finance. Frank debriefed you on this important process and explained that the main themes or root causes identified in this stage were the following: Leading change; Lack of Accountability/Performance management; Lack of Work Management; Skill pool management & Recruiting; Coaching and Development; Lack of Standardisation; Systems & Tools. These factors contributed to a breakdown in several processes and ultimately resulted in a loss of trust in the leadership. The Task Force is currently working to further define the agreed solutions into well defined actions and integrate them in the 2006 plan. The full FLT participated in the Root Cause Analysis and fully supports the outcome.
You will all get an opportunity to learn about the Root Cause Analysis, both the process and the results. We will first work this at the Finance Leadership Conference which will be held on 16 and 17 March and then in the following weeks with all Finance staff in Q&A sessions at the three main locations and a telecon.

In parallel with the Root Cause Analysis, the FLT has also evaluated the way we work together in Finance. I personally had in-depth discussions with many of you to learn about your perspective on the performance issues we face. In addition, we have had in-depth discussions within the FLT including an open and honest feedback session. The feedback we received all points in the same direction. This has led me to conclude that we need to make some immediate decisions to put ourselves in a better place to deliver on our 2006 commitments including the improvement actions following the Root Cause Analysis.

One of the key outcomes of the Root Cause Analysis was that Finance needs a greater capability to lead and deliver change. We do not consistently understand the magnitude and complexity of change, many changes are implemented concurrently and change is worked within the various departments without a clear joint ownership of the delivery of major change projects. This, in combination with suboptimal communication, resulted in a disconnect between leadership and staff as to what our capability to deliver change is and what realistic targets are. Another conclusion was that there is a low level of accountability in our organisation for outcomes; we have not always been clear on expectations and do not always hold people accountable for delivery of commitments. I do not want to generalise as these findings are not necessarily universally true across the Finance organisation. However, it is clear to me that we need to continue on the improvement journey we started last year. It is critical that we build on the findings of the Root Cause Analysis, strengthen our capability to deliver our change agenda and functional plan and that we continue the practice of active Work Plan Management for the Finance Directorate as a whole.

Finance Executive Leadership Team (FELT)

I have decided that we have to change the structure and modus operandi of the FLT to increase our capability to deliver change and increase levels of accountability in the organisation. With immediate effect a sub team within the FLT called Finance Executive Leadership Team (FELT) will take joint responsibility – on top of their functional responsibilities – for the developing and steering of our change agenda and of the EPF-E 2006 Functional Plan and for ensuring holistic management of our work load across the Directorate. This team will consist of Trond Brandsrud, John Lickvar, Frank Lemmink, the new Controller (see below under organisational changes) and myself. The other FLT members will continue to be responsible for the delivery of the Directorate agenda but will focus more specifically on their individual areas of operation. As an example, David Wood will be accountable for delivering SAP improvements and benefits in line with the overall business requirements; Bill Husthwaite will focus on delivering the Tax plan and the significant value targets to our bottom-line; Mary Ward will focus on improving the strategically important XOM relationship and Keely Harris will focus on extracting maximum value from our Trading relationship. Reidar Saugstad and Hans van Heijningen will focus on their role as local Finance leader (see below).
This will mean in practice that the FELT will meet on a bi-weekly basis to actively monitor progress on key Finance activities and provide clear direction to the organisation. This is more or less an extension of the Finance Task Force Steering Committee but with a more active focus on change management. We intend to work together regularly from the same location as much as practical to facilitate more direct communication and also strengthen ties with the local Finance communities. The full FLT will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis to discuss wider Finance issues, interdepartmental and global matters and people issues.

We are currently drafting charters for both the FLT and FELT to clearly map our responsibilities. I will share these as soon as they are finalised.

Local Finance Leadership

It is clear that we have not been able to connect sufficiently to our staff over the past years and that there is a strong need to strengthen local Finance leadership. Hans van Heijningen already fulfilled the local senior Finance leadership role in Assen. Reidar Saugstad was appointed last year as the local senior Finance leader in Stavanger. Both of them are in that capacity member of the local EP Leadership teams. Going forward, I want to further strengthen these roles so that we can deal more effectively with local people issues, better communicate with our staff and engage more effectively with other local stakeholders. I have decided as follows:

Reidar Saugstad will continue in his role as Senior Local Finance Representative in Norway (in addition to his Country Controller role) .

He will continue to report directly into me.

Hans van Heijningen will not be double hatting anymore as FPL and will perform his role as Senior Local Finance Representative in Assen on a full time basis. He will report directly into my instead of into FitB.
John Lickvar will, in addition to his functional role, assume the role of Senior Local Finance Representative in Aberdeen.

Hans, Reidar and John will all be a full member of the Local EP Leadership Fora. These fora focus on issues that are critical to our License to Operate in the various countries, ensure proper representation externally, act as a sounding board for corporate issues and -last but not least – make sure that local staff and location issues are properly managed to ensure employees’ well being, motivation and commitment.

I expect our Senior Local Finance Representatives to support line management with local staff planning, attraction & recruitment and retention requirements to help ensure a fit for purpose resource base at all times, to act as Finance rep vis-?-vis the local staff councils and facilitate effective communication with local Finance staff. I have asked Reidar to take a coordinating role and establish a Local Finance Representatives Network – also including the Senior Local Finance Representatives from Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Germany and Austria, to facilitate mutual support, sharing experiences and cross-learning.
Again, we are currently drafting charters for the role of senior Local Finance Representative and I will share these with you as soon as they are finalised.

Finance Performance Improvement

The Finance Task Force will end its work by 31 March 2006. However, it is clear that there is a lot more work to do to accelerate and properly embed Work Plan management in the organisation, support the FELT in driving the change agenda, and drive a series of improvement projects focusing on our key Finance processes and systems to drive out waste, simplify and standardise. In short we need to make sure we have the resources in place to help us delivering the EPF-E Finance Functional Improvement plan that will be finalised by the Task Force before 31st March. We have decided to create a Finance Performance Improvement team:

The team will be led by a Finance Performance Improvement Manager.
We will continue the current Work Plan Management practice. Initially, we will continue to work with Accenture resources to continue the current practice adopted by the Task Force. Once we have decided on the tools to be used going forward and we are clear on requirements, we will recruit a planning expert to assume this role.

We are in the process of finalising the recruitment of 5 full-time Finance RBI Black Belts for the whole of Finance including SCM who will start their training on 20 March. We will bring these Black Belts together in the Finance Performance Improvement team as they will be pivotal in driving the improvement agenda. They will report into the Finance Performance Improvement manager with a dotted line to one RBI Master Black Belt who will be dedicated to Finance.

We will ensure proper communications support from a communications expert the help us connecting more effectively to staff and other stakeholders.

The Finance Performance Improvement manager (and team) will work directly with the FLT and FELT but will formally report into Frank Lemmink to ensure continuity following the Task Force. We hope to announce the formal appointments over the next few weeks.

Organisational changes

It is clear that the above has implications for the amount of time FLT members have to allocate to certain tasks, this will have to be facilitated. As an example Trond has decided to look at the structural set up of the FPL team. He will consult with staff and develop a plan for his organisation by end of April. Following an assessment of the Task Force with the Team Leaders, we have decided to create 3 additional positions in Financial Accounting, 3 in General Accounting and 1 in Finance in the Business.

I would also like to announce that Derk Kappelle is moving on to his next assignment. The EPE Controller job has been posted on the OR website. With the new Controller, we will evaluate if further refinements are needed in the Controller’s organisation. Please note that any organisational change is subject to appropriate staff council consultation.

Resourcing and Skill pool management

Staff is our main asset. It is critical that we resource for our positions timely and effectively but also that we build the right skills and competencies in our organisation. We have to make sure that we direct the right people to the right place at the right time, both from their individual perspective and from an overall Finance performance perspective. We have further clarified accountabilities between HR processes (including recruiting) on the one hand and skill pool development on the other. Line management is single point responsible to resource timely and ensures at least 1 month positive hand-overs. HR will support this, both with the OR process and with external recruiting. Gea Moek is responsible for ensuring proper HR support (including Shell People Services). This will provide the necessary context for Sharon Lindop to focus exclusively on skill pool management. The FLT is committed to invest in organisational and individual competence management. Sharon has a key role to play in this. She will work with line managers to ensure that we develop the right skills in the organisation and that our talent pipeline is filled. Chris Siotas will continue to fulfil the same role in SCM as he has done successfully over the past years.

I believe the above actions will put us in a good place to deliver on our commitments in 2006, to improve our performance and to allow us to live up to our values of demonstrating respect for people. This is necessary but not enough. We need to work together to deliver on the projects and other change efforts coming out of the Root Cause Analysis to really get us where we want to be. There is a lot of work to do, but I am convinced that we have the quality people to pull this of and effectively restore confidence and pride in the EPE Finance organisation. I do hope I can continue to count on your support.

Kind regards,
Engelhardt RobbeVice President Finance – EP Europe
Mobile phone +31 646 120 459

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