The Independent: Shell shocked by view from Duisenberg: “Last week's profits warning from Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Shell Transport & Trading and now the most senior executive in the group, unnerved the market” (ShellNews.net)
By Roland Gribben, Business Editor
23 September 1998
Shell was yesterday rocked by criticism from Wim Duisenberg, president of the European Central Bank about last week's profit warning.
He expressed concern that Shell was over-reacting to worries about the fall out from the Asian financial crisis. Mr Duisenberg, in a newspaper interview, said: "Shell should not have reacted with such panic. In my opinion, the profit warning from Royal Dutch Shell is not the writing on the wall. We should be very careful to avoid panic."
Last week's profits warning from Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Shell Transport & Trading and now the most senior executive in the group, unnerved the market but the closure of national headquarters is seen as a more determined attack on costs.
Mr Duisenberg's intervention came as Shell moved quickly to fill a top level vacancy caused by the surprise resignation of Phil Turberville, head of the Anglo-Dutch group's European oil products business. Paul Skinner, former head of Shell's international trading and shipping business, has been shifted to complete a radical cost cutting and reorganisation programme started under Mr Turberville's leadership.
Shell's decision to be either number one or two in key markets has seen a shake-up of the European products business, culminating last week in the decision to shut four national head offices, the merger with Texaco and the closure of the Shellhaven refinery.
A company spokesman said that Mr Turberville had decided to leave to pursue a career outside the company but analysts said the departure was "out of character". One said: "He has been under enormous pressure to deliver and it's unusual to see such a senior person go at such an important time."
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