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Jeroen move is double Dutch

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By Emiliya Mychasuk and Emiko Terazono

Published: March 13 2009 02:00 | Last updated: March 13 2009 02:00

Royal Dutch Shell has taken the unusual step of appointing chief executive Jeroen van der Veer to be a non-executive director when he steps down in June.

The move does not breach corporate governance rules: Shell will still have the required majority of independent directors on its board and it will class Mr van der Veer, properly, as being not independent.

But the move raises questions from investors about Mr van der Veer’s role and influence.

Peter Montagnon, at the Association of British Insurers, said: “This is an unusual and potentially quite uncomfortable situation. I imagine shareholders will want to understand better the reasons why it will benefit the company.”

David Paterson , head of corporate governance at the National Association of Pension Funds, said: “As a general rule, a clean break normally is in the best interests of companies and shareholders.”

Shell yesterday stressed the contribution that Mr van der Veer would make with his deep experience of the industry, crediting him with stabilising Shell and improving its governance after the reserves misreporting scandal.

He replaces Maarten van den Bergh , the former chairman of Lloyds. He is another non-independent non-executive, after 32 years with the group including as president of Royal Dutch during 1998-2000.

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