John van der Meer – the right man to instigate a change at Shell?

John Van Der Meer, the Dutch chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, hopes to reset the crisis-ridden oil giant. What kind of operating company is Royal Dutch Shell? Royal Dutch Shell Hires John Van Der…

John van der Meer – the right man to instigate a change at Shell?

John Van Der Meer, the Dutch chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, hopes to reset the crisis-ridden oil giant. What kind of operating company is Royal Dutch Shell?

Royal Dutch Shell Hires John Van Der Meer to Oversee ‘Continue to Oil’ Fix Read more

From Nigeria to the US, Shell’s growth over the last decade has come at a human and environmental cost, while the level of dividend payments to investors far exceeds that of peers. Shareholders and employees have called for a change of tone and direction from Shell. However, in appointing Van Der Meer, Shell has avoided the structural changes that might better tackle the myriad problems. Shell’s largest and most important division, it’s gas and power division, accounts for two-thirds of group profits, and yet payouts have remained high since 2014. Shell has underperformed oil and gas peers such as Chevron and ExxonMobil this year, shedding shares from £19.56 in April to £18.86 in June. However, Van Der Meer is the right man to instigate a change.

The latest round of cuts are needed, but it is also time for Shell to change its corporate culture. One clear example is Shell Nigeria, which has been under emergency rule since January, forcing divestment as Shell deals with a slump in oil prices. The Guardian has reported claims of widespread oil theft by Shell’s local staff in Nigeria, an environment that was barely cleaned up when the pipeline security contract ended. Shell paid £1.4bn for GSPC in 2013. Despite the outcry over pay rises for Shell’s chairman last year, van der Meer and Andrew Kerr are two of the highest paid board members. Shareholders will be looking for much more for their money from Shell.

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Royal Dutch Shell

Profits ($bn) 2017

88 $846

2016

198 $20.2

2015

246 $10.1

2014

311 $14.3

2013

366 $15.2

2012

469 $18.9

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