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Business big shot: Peter Voser

Times Online
The Times
October 30, 2008

Peter Voser’s appointment as chief executive of Shell suggests an effort has been made to draw a line under the murkiest episode in the company’s recent history.

Mr Voser – born in Baden, Switzerland in 1958 – joined the oil company in 1982 after graduating in business administration from the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich.

He worked in a variety of roles for Shell’s finance, audit and downstream operations in Chile, Argentina, Switzerland and the UK.

His internal rivals for the top job, Linda Cook and Malcolm Brinded, were senior executives in 2004, when Shell was forced to admit that it had overstated its proven oil and gas reserves by nearly 25 per cent.

However, Mr Voser managed to dodge the fallout.

In 2002 he left Shell to become chief financial officer of ABB, the Swiss engineering group, where he stayed for two years before being invited to return to Shell after the storm had passed in late 2004.

In the meantime, the misreporting scandal had led to a shake-up at the company, including the resignation of Sir Philip Watts, its chairman, the scrapping of its antiquated dual board structure in favour of a single chairman and chief executive, the creation of a single headquarters in The Hague, and a London listing.

Mr Voser worked closely with Jeroen van der Veer, from whom he now takes over as chief executive, on the group’s recovery.

He was a board member of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland until September 2004 and of UBS, the Swiss banking giant – where he gained further experience in crisis management. It could prove to be a valuable tool in the current economic climate.

Mr Voser is married with three children.


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