Royal Dutch Shell Group .com

Financial Times: Pressure grows on Shell's finance chief


By Carola Hoyos, Clay Harris and Sundeep Tucker

Mar 10, 2004


Royal Dutch/Shell's chief financial officer, Judy Boynton, was yesterday the latest top executive to come under pressure from within the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas group which last week parted company with its chairman and head of exploration and production.


Support for Ms Boynton has eroded and her tenure is "on thin ice", according to several people close to the company. Ms Boynton, who joined from Polaroid in 2001, was seen as a close confidante of Sir Philip Watts, the departed chairman.


Separately, Shell is expected to ask for the resignations of several managers at a level below managing director. An internal audit committee is reviewing why Shell in January had to cut 3.9bn barrels from its reserves.


Some UK institutional investors, however, indicated they were more interested in structural changes than further departures.


The speculation about Ms Boynton's future came as the New York Times quoted internal Shell memos which suggested executives had discussed problems with reserves, and strategy about how to respond to questions, in early and mid-2002.


Shell yesterday refused to go beyond previous statements that the audit committee's inquiry was continuing.


Ms Boynton, who spent 20 years at Amoco, the US oil company that is now part of BP, is unlikely to have been directly involved in the erroneous bookings of reserves. She has come under fire before for decisions made before she arrived that she had to justify.


In the immediate aftermath of the reserves cut, some of Shell's biggest investors named Sir Philip and Ms Boynton when they called for changes.

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