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Shell Job Application Farce

Shell has been prepared to put up with the ignominy of its “No1 Enemy” receiving private communications meant for the company. Several years ago Mr Michiel Brandjes (right), Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, gave us written permission to vet incoming mail on behalf of Shell, using our discretion to remove and destroy what we consider to be spam and pass on to Shell what we decide they ought to see!

By John Donovan

Because Royal Dutch Shell Plc petulantly decided to keep trading under the name Royal Dutch Shell Plc  despite knowing that my father, Alfred Donovan, had registered the domain name, a certain amount of unforeseen confusion was probably inevitable.

Shell tried to escape humiliation by attempting to seize the domain name, issuing proceedings against him. Shell lost the case and did not bother to appeal against a unanimous verdict, which resulted in yet more embarrassment.

One unintended consequence of owning the sought after domain name is that we regularly receive job applications, CV’s, business proposals, general enquiries, and even terrorist threats, all meant for Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

This bizarre predicament for Shell has been reported in The Times (Sept 2007) and in Prospect Magazine (Sept 2007). Reference to the peculiar arrangement was contained in a leaflet distributed to Shell employees at the Shell Centre in October 2009. It was also discussed during a live interview with me by Etholle George on BBC Radio Essex on 11 October 2007.

Extracts of a transcript held by Shell (contained in a Shell internal email dated 18 October 2007)

Extract from the introduction:

…first the story of a high tech David and Goliath battle of the modern age…

Extract from the interview

ETHOLLE: But people have sent you job applications I’ve heard

JD: we get job applications with CV’s

ETHOLLE: and this is for people who want to work for Shell not for John Donovan

JD: Absolutely … and we get we’ve had terrorist threats against Shell against Shell installations

ETHOLLE: you pass those on … I hope you pass those on …

JD: We … I’m in almost daily contact at board level with Shell and I pass on all information to them

In November 2007, arrangements were formalized with Shell in email correspondence with Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate. Mr Brandjes supplied written confirmation for us to vet incoming mail on behalf of Shell, using our discretion to remove and destroy what we consider to be spam and pass on to Shell what we decide they ought to see!

So there is absolutely no doubt that Shell has been well aware for several years of this free vetting service we have performed on their behalf and has been prepared to put up with the ongoing ignominy of its “No1 Enemy” receiving and processing private communications meant for the company.

How could one of the worlds biggest multinational corporations have got itself into such an unholy mess?

We do not take advantage of the situation, other than reminding Shell from time to time.

All job applicants are politely directed to the appropriate webpage at Shell, despite the temptation to send them elsewhere.

We note that the first impression applicants receive in visiting the Shell Jobs and Careers webpage is currently less than inspiring. Some may consider it to be another farce. It appears to an obstacle course whereby, through no fault of your own, you can suddenly be disqualified at random and returned to the starting point. This is the message that pops up:

“We are aware of slow server problems that result in ‘Timed Out’ error messages during the application process. This is due to the exceptionally large number of applications we are currently receiving, and we are working hard to resolve these issues. Please do continue to apply, and if at peak times you get an error during your application, we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this causes and ask you to please try again later.”

What a poor advertisement for Shell IT.

We do also pass on business proposals meant for Shell, many of which originate from China.

Domain name fiasco

The domain name fiasco resulted from an incredible blunder on the part of Shell lawyers. It occurred during the process of forming a unified company from the ashes of the Shell Transport/Royal Dutch Petroleum partnership, brought to an untimely end as a result of a massive securities fraud, when the founding companies defrauded their own shareholders.


John and Alfred Donovan well known in UK / Hague. They perceive Shell played them and so have made it their mission to embarrass, belittle and criticize Shell, which they do quite well. Their website, is an excellent source of group news and comment and I recommend it far above what our own group internal comms puts out.



This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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