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She was universally hated and in the end Shell thankfully ducked appointing her as CEO and she cleared off in a hissy fit! Laughing all the way to the bank no doubt.

Graphic From Daily Mail Article: Shell braced for yet another revolt over directors’ pay

Wilt Staph Posting on Apr 15th, 2010 at 10:16 am

Shell insiders will be shocked but not surprised by the revelations about Linda cook’s departure. There are two main factors at play in this sorry saga – Americanisation and diversity. Senior American executives in Shell have historically had bonus and pay structures which far exceed those of their mainly European colleagues. The uneasy relationship between Shell’s US subsidiary, Shell Oil, and the rest of RDS over the years led to a number of high-flying Americans moving into the Shell international arena to try and address this problem. In virtually every instance these moves have been unmitigated disasters.

Steve Miller was on the CMD in the 1990s and was an expensive failure. He had little or no feel for the complexity and diversity of Shell’s business outside of the US and he was eventually sent home with his tail between his legs – the only CMD member effectively to be sacked. John Hofmeister became the head honcho of Shell’s HR function and managed to unravel decades of a more paternalistic (but successful) approach to employee relations and by his own efforts reduce morale to new lows. Like Miller before him he was repatriated in the end to Houston – unliked and unmissed in Shell Centre and The Hague. Finally Linda Cook was not only supposed to smooth relations between the Dutch/British management mafia and their American cousins but also add to Shell’s diversity status by being a very senior woman on the Board. The carrot of perhaps succeeding to the top job when van der Veer retired was undoubtedly dangled in front of her – as well as a mind-blowing remuneration and pension package. Cook was by all accounts utterly unsuited to a top international job (all of her prior Shell experience had been in the US) and her ambition was such that she tried to trample on any in her way. She was universally hated and in the end Shell thankfully ducked appointing her as CEO and she cleared off in a hissy fit! Laughing all the way to the bank no doubt.

Posting by “insider” on Shell Blog Apr 15th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Wilt Staph, good story, I could not have worded it better. But you were incomplete, the story is worse. What of Boynton who was sacked albeit with a large severance payment. Was she an incompetent and token woman like Cook, or an incompetent american or both or simply corrupt? We will never know. And what of our friend Botts, the cowboy from Wyoming? He ruined EP Europe with his silly ideas and was not sacked but kicked to do something managerial in downstream. All the while raking in humongous american pay. He has gone quiet and this is worth a lot of money! One midlevel engineer american expatriate (say graduate with 10 yrs experience) in the Netherlands costs as much as 4-5 dutch PhDs. The latter ones may not be so flamboyant and gung-ho nor always in agreement with the boss, but they certainly could provide value for money.

The days when Shell Oil would provide good old technical competence are long gone by. But occasionally there is a good one in the senior ranks, I think I know both of them. One retired, one resigned from Shell as he could not take the crap anymore.

So Wilt, thanks for your heads up, perhaps others can complete this staffwork on crooked and overpaid americans? Personally I think you were far too kind on that idiot Hofmeister. He ruined Shell for good and spent enormous amounts traipsing around with the HR community and on himself. All the while pretending to be a sober living Amish. Pretending is an understatement…

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