Talk:Middle East Association

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Paddy Briggs, an ex-Shell employee alleges that:

Nobody would ever accuse Phil Watts of being smooth and patrician. Where Moody-Stuart and Martin van den Bergh were products of elite schools and universities Watts was from a far more humble background. He was a hard-nosed technocrat with few social graces and with a style at odds with those (be they Dutch or British) who preceded him as Shell Chairman. In the (as it turned out) misplaced belief that Shell needed a period of a more brutal management style (Watts’s hallmark) he got the job. His failure is attributable to three main factors. Firstly the Dutch (who own 60% of the Group) were less than delighted when an Englishman followed an Englishman and their support for Watts was going to have to be earned by him - he never in Shell succeeded in this task. Second much of the role of Chairman is external and Watts never cut the right figure in the wider business world – in particular he was universally derided by the financial analysts. Third (and crucially) Watts had few Shell friends who would loyally fight his internal battles for him. There were the usual acolytes who made themselves useful to him in their own interests - but few of these proved loyal when the chips were down. Watts had trampled over too many others in his rise to the top to expect that the battalions of middle managers in the Group would fight to the death in his support. He became an increasingly isolated and lonely figure and in the end this affected his judgement – as the debacle over the revaluation of Shell’s reserves, which in the end brought about his downfall, showed.

Sir Philip Watts, in his first public statement since he was ousted as chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in March, said on Thursday that British financial regulators had violated his rights in their investigation of the company's restatement of its oil and natural gas reserves.