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The Palawan Report: David lifts George: ‘Of course I remember David Greer…’

David Greer

By Redempto D Anda,
Editor, Palawan Sun Newsweekly

Of course I remember David Greer. He was the irrepressible can-do guy who led Shell’s pioneering and technically ambitious pipeline laying project from Palawan’s Camago-Malampaya gas field to the shores of Batangas in Luzon.

David was in the news months ago, after his internal memo addressed to the troubled engineers of Royal Dutch Shell’s Sakhalin 2 gas pipeline project in Russia was leaked to an anti-Shell activist website and then passed on to the highly respected Financial Times of London.

“Lead me, Follow me or Get out of my way,” Greer exhorted his engineers. He must have underestimated the chance of an internal e-mail spreading out to cyberspace carrying parts lifted from a famous General’s words and not making the proper attribution, or possibly presuming that pipeline engineers hardly have time to read literature.

Industry observers claim that Greer’s memo further worsened the project’s standing with the Russian government and prompted his resignation.

The motivational memo was published in Time magazine before it caught fire after someone pointed out that most of it was in fact plagiarized from Gen George Patton’s D-Day address to the troops during the Normandy invasion.

Here’s an excerpt from the celebrated Greer memo: (Copyright: Financial Times)

When everyone of you were kids, I am sure that you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league football players. Personally, I, like most others, love winning. I despise cowards and play to win all of the time. This is what I expect of each and everyone of you…”

“Strive to be proud and confident in yourselves, be proud of your tremendous pipeline achievements to date and lift up your level of personal and team energy to show everyone that you are a winning team capable to achieving this year’s goals. If you can crack this angle, I am very confident you can crack the job, with ease.

“So Lead me, Follow me or Get out of my way; Success is how we bounce when we are on the bottom.”

Search google it and you’ll know how much of it was Gen. Patton’s.

FT ran a survey on the memo where respondents voted it as one of the worst motivational memos ever written.

Too bad for a guy credited for pulling off the oil and gas industry’s most outstanding technical feat in modern day history. Yet I remember that during his Malampaya stint, Mr. Greer did rub some political toes the wrong way. At some point during deliberations on the permitting stage of the project, he had displayed body language that turned off some local politicians who were equally as stubborn and proud.

To the guy’s credit, he left Palawan around 2002 in good stead, having been officially ascribed as an “adopted son” by the provincial government and a “brother” by a Tagbanua indigenous tribe in northern Palawan.

(Photo Credit: SEIC)

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2007

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