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Leaked email Royal Dutch Shell Exec Peter Voser sent at 10am today..

By John Donovan

Printed below is a leaked self-explanatory email from Peter Voser. I don’t know why Shell executives do not include us in the circulation list to cut out the middleman.  The 29 year contribution of Linda Cook seems to have been forgotten before she has officially departed. 

From: Voser, Peter SI-GLOBAL
Sent: woensdag 27 mei 2009 9:58
Subject: Message to all staff from Peter Voser: Update from Senior Executive Forum 2009 

Subject to appropriate staff consultation

Dear colleagues

I’m really looking forward to my new job. I’m pleased to be able to share my plans early. As you know, I don’t take over as CEO from Jeroen van der Veer until July 1. With this note, I will share my plans on how we will increase the competitiveness of Shell.
At a meeting of senior Shell leaders today, I outlined the changes we will make to speed up our journey to better performance.
We have been a company of firsts ever since the Murex brought the first shipment of kerosene through the Suez canal in 1892, en route from Baku to Bangkok. The firsts have included seismic technology, deep-water production, GTL and LNG, performance fuels and recently offshore Arctic production.  But are we a company of firsts today?
Our strategy of building our upstream heartlands and sharpening the focus in the downstream is sound. It remains unchanged.
But organisationally, we are too complex, and our culture is still too consensus-oriented. Our costs are simply too high despite our top quartile efforts, which must continue and be accelerated.
Just consider this: the oil price is back to the level of 2004, but external costs are twice what they were five years ago. And our internal costs are twice what they were in 2002!
To tackle these challenges and to regain our leadership position, structures and responsibilities at the top level of Shell will be realigned. This is aimed at bringing a greater focus on how we interact with resource holders and how we run our projects.
We are also upgrading our focus on technology as a competitive advantage for Shell.
The new structure, which will be put in place from 1 July 2009, grew from some major objectives. These are:
·        We will further drive technology development and application as a major competitive advantage, and group our technology efforts for all of Shell.

  • We will increase accountability for production performance and leverage existing heartlands.
  • We will speed up getting upstream projects on-stream, and improve project execution.
  • We aim to change our approach from internal to external, raise our game in stakeholder management and better address non-technical risks.
  • We will reduce corporate weight by embedding many functional activities closer to the business.
  • We will continue to drive appropriate globalisation of systems, standardise and simplify our business processes, as well as remove known ambiguities and overlaps.

In concrete terms, there will be structural changes:  

  • Shell’s Upstream activities are currently managed in three separate organizations – Exploration & Production, Gas & Power, and Oil Sands. Upstream will now consist of two businesses: Upstream Americas covering North and South America, and Upstream International covering the rest of the world. Marvin Odum, currently Shell’s Executive Vice President for EP Americas, will become Director for Upstream Americas.  Malcolm Brinded, currently Shell’s Executive Director Exploration & Production, will become Executive Director of Upstream International.  
  • There will also be changes in Downstream. In addition to the Refining, Marketing and Chemicals businesses, the Downstream portfolio will be expanded to include Trading and Alternative Energy activities in Shell, excluding Wind, which will be part of Upstream. Downstream will continue to be led by Mark Williams as Director.
  • A new business – Projects & Technology – will combine all of Shell’s major project delivery, technical services and technology capability covering both upstream and downstream. It will also oversee Shell’s safety and environment performance. Matthias Bichsel, who is currently Shell’s Executive Vice President for Exploration & Production Technology, will be the Director of this business.
  • Corporate functional activities will be further consolidated with more staff reallocated directly into the businesses. Functional responsibilities will be concentrated into the portfolios of the Chief Financial Officer, Simon Henry and the Human Resources Director (to be retitled Chief HR & Corporate Officer), Hugh Mitchell. Beat Hess continues as Legal Counsel and completes the reshaped Executive Committee.
  • Separately, reporting to the CEO, a small, dedicated unit will oversee Government Relations including ID. This unit will be headed by Roxanne Decyk, currently Shell’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Development.
  • Safety & Environment, Sustainable Development, CO2, Communications and Investor Relations will reside within the EC-level structures. These important functions will continue to have direct access to the CEO.

In terms of outcomes, these changes aim at a company that accelerates its ongoing top quartile plans and additional benefits resulting from organisational changes as announced.  

Our behaviours need to change if we want to enable leadership performance in a strong performance culture.

That will mean that fewer people will make strategic decisions. More people will implement them, and improving performance will be our guide and goal. We will become a simpler place to work.

These are key changes, aiming to make our company fitter for the future. For most people in Shell, very little will change in the day-to-day work they do. But how we work will change.  

As we embark on this transformation, we must focus on delivering our 2009 and 2010 targets, while we implement our strategy and trim our entire organisation for high performance.

Together, I know we can regain Shell’s position as an industry leader, as a company of “firsts”.

We will build a Shell known for its top quartile performance, founded on our technology, our operational and commercial excellence, our project delivery – and on improved relationships with resource holders, governments, energy consumers and other key stakeholders.

I need your best efforts to make this happen, and I count on you.  

Peter Voser

You will find more materials on the SEF09 page <>   

Feedback? <mailto:[email protected]>


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