The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

You can’t be sure of Shell

By Fiona Maharg Bravo


www.breakingviews.com

Royal Dutch/Shell's problems stem from the multinational group's lack of accountability to investors. After the recent debacle over a mis-statement of its oil reserves in its accounts, it might have been expected that the group would have started to listen to them. But that's not the case.

The Dutch/British group's new chairman, Jeroen van der Veer, has mounted a defence of the existing double-headed board structure. His argument in general is that Royal Dutch/Shell's problems can be attributed to a few rotten apples, not to its corporate governance or culture. Sure, the group needs to tidy things up a bit around the edges. But there's no way it needs to rethink its structure.

What's more, van der Veer has introduced an element of British versus Dutch into the debate. And as there is real concern in the Netherlands that a reorganization might mean loss of industrial sovereignty, the move might ultimately make meaningful reform harder to achieve.

Weak arguments for inaction

Most of the arguments that the group has made in favour of the status quo are pretty weak. One is that the existing regime has worked well for a century; so why fix what isn't broken? Another is that the reserves debacle was the responsibility of a few guilty people – including Royal/Dutch Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts and the group's head of exploration and production, Walter van der Vijver – and they have now resigned.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree