Royal Dutch Shell Group .com Shell Reassigns Finance Executive   


Thursday, April 8, 2004 02:24 AM ET 


LONDON -- Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch/Shell (RD, news) Group, grappling with a number of investigations into its energy-reserves accounting, said it reassigned the top financial executive at its exploration-and-production business, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported.


A Shell spokesman said that Frank Coopman -- the chief financial officer of Shell's "upstream" businesses since 2002 -- had been offered another, unspecified "key" position at Shell, but had turned it down. Before a shakeup earlier this year, Shell's upstream businesses were almost solely responsible for booking Shell's reserves. Disclosures this year about its reserve accounting have sparked investigations of Shell by securities regulators in the U.S. and Europe, and led to industrywide questions about how energy companies tally their oil and natural-gas holdings.


The Shell spokesman declined to comment on the reasons for the reassignment. Mr. Coopman remains an employee at Shell, though the spokesman said he doesn't have a job title. "We will continue to work towards a mutually acceptable alternative" for Mr. Coopman, the spokesman said. Shell declined to make Mr. Coopman available for comment.


Mr. Coopman's reassignment is the first reshuffling of senior Shell management since the departure early last month of Chairman Philip Watts and Walter van de Vijver, former head of Shell's upstream division. Shell's board ousted Sir Philip and Mr. van de Vijver, citing a loss of confidence in the two. In January, Shell said it would reduce by 20% the tally of oil and natural-gas reserves it reports in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Shell has two holding companies, Royal Dutch Petroleum (RD, news) of The Hague, Netherlands, and London-based Shell Transport & Trading Co. (SC, news).


Wall Street Journal Staff Reporters Chip Cummins and Mark Long contributed to this report.  


Dow Jones Newswires

04-08-04  0224ET


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