The Independent: Shell in top-level shake-up: "Moody-Stuart was at odds with some of his Dutch colleagues over the chief executive idea. He is believed, however, to feel that the current collegiate approach, where power is concentrated in the hands of five managing directors, is better for Shell than a single dominating chief executive." (ShellNews.net)
By Roland Gribben, Business Editor
11 December 1998
Shell started a top-level management shake-up yesterday with the scrapping of business committees and the appointment of chief executives to run the most important parts of the group.
The introduction of senior executives to head the exploration and production wings and oil products was seen as a prelude to the appointment of a powerful group chief executive. Shell sources were playing down the suggestion, and Mark Moody-Stuart, group chairman, is understood to have given short shrift to the suggestion when he addressed the group's global leadership conference in London yesterday.
Analysts felt that Mr Moody-Stuart was at odds with some of his Dutch colleagues over the chief executive idea. He is believed, however, to feel that the current collegiate approach, where power is concentrated in the hands of five managing directors, is better for Shell than a single dominating chief executive. Shell and Mr Moody-Stuart have been under growing pressure to introduce radical change to improve performance against the background of disappointing results and the merger rush.
He is due to address analysts in London next week and is expected to confirm substantial asset write-downs and a disposal programme but no bid. Analysts feel that speculation that Shell is ready to bid for either Chevron or Texaco and attempt to upset the Exxon-Mobil merger with a bid for Mobil are wide of the mark. Mr Moody-Stuart was said to have been in an ebullient mood yesterday when he addressed senior executives, urging his audience to "let's go out and get 'em".
Yesterday's changes involve Paul Skinner moving to become chief executive of the oil products business, with Steve Miller remaining chairman and group managing director. A similar set-up is planned in exploration and production, where Phil Watts will act as chief executive as well as continuing as chairman of the business and group managing director. Shell has chief executives running its gas and coal, chemicals and renewables businesses and Shell Services International, but not the production and marketing businesses.
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