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A slap for Shell

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By Rob Davies: PUBLISHED 22 May 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 23.42.42Investors joined environmental protesters in giving Royal Dutch Shell a slap on the wrists, as a tenth of them failed to back the oil giant’s pay arrangements.

In what is likely to be chief executive Peter Voser’s last annual meeting before he retires, some 10 per cent of shareholders snubbed the remuneration report.

The vote comes just days after Shell’s London offices were raided in a European Commission investigation into oil price fixing.

And it meant that Voser – who will retire in early 2014 – bowed out of his last shareholder meeting in uneasy circumstances.

The Swiss, who is retiring to enjoy a ‘change of lifestyle’, took home a pay package worth up to £8m last year, depending on the outcome of bonus targets over several years.

That was despite shelving the company’s Arctic drilling plans, which has already sucked up £3bn of Shell’s cash, in the wake of several accidents.

The Anglo-Dutch ‘supermajor’ – the world’s second largest listed oil company by production – has also been caught up in a European Commission probe into oil price fixing, although it emerged after the close of the financial year.

The annual meeting – in The Hague, Holland – also attracted protest from groups complaining about Shell’s plans to exploit Canada’s tar sands.

Members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, a native American group suing Shell (up 34.5p to 2260p) over plans to develop on their ancestral land, confronted board members at the meeting. And Mae R Hank, tribal member of the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska, criticised the firm’s Arctic drilling plans.

‘If an oil spill were to occur in the Arctic’s extreme conditions, there is no proven method to clean it up during winter,’ she said.

Chairman Jorma Ollila said Shell’s nominations committee had begun the hunt for a new chief executive, declaring  ‘the process has started’.

Chief financial officer Simon Henry is thought to the front-runner, given Shell’s traditional policy of promoting company ‘lifers’ from within. Marvin Odum, head of upstream operations in the Americas, is also a contender to be the firm’s first boss from the US. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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