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BEN VAN BEURDEN: Chief executive, Royal Dutch Shell

Just a year into the job, the 57-year-old Dutchman struck a legacy-defining deal. April’s £47bn cash-and-share takeover of smaller rival BG was hailed as a bold move to enliven the be- leaguered energy industry.

With each fall in the price of crude oil, though, the daring swoop starts to look more hare-brained.

When van Beurden, a mechanical engineer and Shell lifer, unveiled his blockbuster bid, crude traded at $57 a barrel. Shell based the hefty 50% premium for BG’s shares on oil rising to $67 next year and $90 by 2018. 

With the price now less than £ $40 a barrel, those goals look wildly optimistic- unrealistic, even. What is not up for debate is the Dutchman’s fortitude.

From Then Sunday Times Focus Section Page 5: 13 December 2015 and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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