Financial Times: Enjoy a free trip and get to ask Shell a question: By Sir Mark Moody-Stuart
Thursday 30 June 2005
From Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.
Sir, Attending my last annual meeting of Shell as a director, I was interested to note that almost half of the 20 or so questions asked came from individuals from areas in the neighbourhood of Shell operations in Sakhalin, Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and the US. According to Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth (FoE), who summed up their concerns, these people had been brought to England by FoE to reflect locally held views.
While certainly there are problems that need addressing around Shell’s operations, and which are proper subjects for discussion at an AGM, in my experience the views expressed did not fully reflect the facts on the ground or represent a cross section of local opinion.
I think there are reasons to question the independence of an individual who is offered a trip to London to ask a question. Should FoE perhaps report on the relationship in its next “Alternative Shell Report”? Are there concerns for corporate governance if a significant proportion of those asking questions at an AGM are part of an operation financed by one “membership organisation”?
Mark Moody-Stuart, London E1W 2NL