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The Independent: Shell chief executive to stay at helm for extra year

By Michael Harrison, Business Editor
Published: 29 March 2007

The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, Jeroen van der Veer, has succeeded where his opposite number at BP, Lord Browne, failed by getting a one-year extension to his contract.

Shell announced yesterday that Mr Van der Veer would now stay on at the helm until July, 2009, when he will be three months short of his 62nd birthday.

Under Shell’s old rules, he would have had to retire in July next year after reaching 60 this coming October. But last year Shell said that it intended to amend its retirement rules to allow executive directors to continue beyond 60, partly because of changes in Dutch employment law.

Jorma Ollila, Shell’s chairman, said he was pleased Mr Van der Veer would stay on longer “providing valuable continuity and leadership” for the company. By the time he retires, Mr Van der Veer will have been chief executive for five years.

In contrast, Lord Browne has been forced to step down as BP’s chief executive 18 months early after a string of setbacks for the oil major and a public bust-up with his chairman Peter Sutherland. Lord Browne will leave this July when he will be only 59, instead of at the end of 2008 as originally planned.

There is no doubt, however, who will leave the oil industry in better financial health.

Lord Browne stands to collect a pay-off worth £15m when he leaves BP whereas Mr Van der Veer will be entitled to only a fraction of that. Despite BP’s travails, Lord Browne still took home nearly £1m more than his rival at Shell last year, earning £4.6m against Mr Van der Veer’s £3.7m. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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