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Financial Times: Well oiled first meeting for Ollila

By Emiliya (edited by) Mychasuk
Published: May 16 2007 03:00 | Last updated: May 16 2007 03:00

If Jorma Ollila wanted to spend all his time travelling to the hot spots for Royal Dutch Shell’s operation he might never make it back to his home townof Helsinki.

He was issued with several invitations from shareholders and lobby groups at his first meeting as chairman of Royal Dutch Shell yesterday, held at the Circustheater at The Hague, at the same time as being linked to the London meeting in the less glamorous Novotel in Hammersmith, complete with translation devices on every seat and a smart-card voting system.

The destinations included everywhere from Delta in Nigeria to County Mayo in Ireland, both the sites of local grievance due to Shell facilities.

The well-travelled Finn, as chief executive and chairman of Nokia, admitted he had been for the first time in his 56 years to Nigeria just eight weeks ago. What could have been a more volatile affair, with some police presence, protestors and heavy security in London – despite the fact there weren’t any directors actually there – was quietly but firmly handled by Mr Ollila, who may have been described on his appointment as a surprise choice for the job but was well-received by the audience.

Chief executive Jeroen van der Veer also won points from the Friends of the Earth representative for going outside to meet with them.

ABN Amro chairman Rijkman Groenink avoided the several-hour long meeting after withdrawing his nomination for the Shell board due to his other commitments. But Sir Peter Job, the former Reuters chief executive, had recovered enough from a shoulder injury that caused him to excuse himself from the Schroders meeting earlier in the season.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

 

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