Daily Telegraph (UK): Investors: We're glad Shell came clean: “Reflecting on a disastrous year, Mr van der Veer said: "March/April was the nadir, with more debookings, press articles on 'who knew what', Shell leaking like a sieve - which still makes me angry - problems with the SEC, annual report delayed, agm delayed, hammering from all the media and financial markets." (ShellNews.net) 17 Dec 04
By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 17/12/2004)
Leading investors in Shell have welcomed a frank speech by new chief executive Jeroen van der Veer in which he admitted his and other senior heads are "on the block" if the oil and gas giant is forced to admit it has lost more proven oil and gas.
Jeroen van der Veer: 'I will only sleep well after we have checked our full compliance with reserves booking requirements'
In a leaked private speech to Shell's 100 top executives on Wednesday, Mr van der Veer also said: "I will only sleep well after we have checked our full compliance with reserves booking requirements in detail."
Eric Knight, managing director of US fund manager Knight Vinke, a major critic, said: "Mr van der Veer should be given a lot of credit. Admitting that he is putting his head on the line is a brave move." Shell is mid-way through its third check. When the check was 55pc complete, it said a further 900m barrels - on top of the 4.47 billion - were questionable.
Mr Van der Veer said he and members of his exploration and production (EP) team led by Malcolm Brinded could lose their jobs if there were more shocks. He said: "We must get it right - my head, Malcolm's and those of the EP leadership are all on the block." He spoke of his disappointment that plans to shake up its structure was overshadowed by more bad news on reserves.
Mr Van der Veer continued that there was no room for "gifted amateurs" at Shell. He added: "Shell people, if they have to go from A to B, can discuss endlessly 'shall we go with a Mercedes or Lexus?'. By the time we get there, our competitors have been and gone."
Reflecting on a disastrous year, Mr van der Veer said: "March/April was the nadir, with more debookings, press articles on 'who knew what', Shell leaking like a sieve - which still makes me angry - problems with the SEC, annual report delayed, agm delayed, hammering from all the media and financial markets."
He said Shell was now making progress. He said: "It is simply a long journey over a rocky road and the troops are only slowly regaining their self-confidence and their comradeship."
William Claxton-Smith, director of corporate governance at Insight, which has more than 1pc, added: "He is a breath of fresh air. His remarks should be applauded."
However, Richard Singleton, director of corporate governance at F&C Asset Management, which also has more than 1pc, joked: "Jeroen is leading the way in designer hair shirts."