Shell International has called in PR firm Shandwick to re-build its
dented image after the twin PR disasters of Brent Spar and Nigeria.
The company hired Shandwick on a project basis following informal talks
with other international PR agencies.
Colin Trusler, managing director of Shandwick UK confirmed the
appointment, but declined to comment on the nature of the work. However,
industry sources indicated Shandwick has both a corporate PR and public
It is believed the aim of the programme is to rebuild the Shell image
and focus attention on the positive side of the company’s successful
restructuring and financial performance rather than the controversy
which has dogged the company for the last year.
As well as the problems over the disposal of the Brent Spar, the company
has faced growing criticism of its operations in Nigeria which have been
the subject of a campaign for environmental compensation by Ogoni
activists since 1991.
It is believed that part of Shandwick’s role was ‘damage limitation’
over the latest allegations made this month by ITV’s World in Action
programme. The programme alleged that Shell had adopted lower
environmental standards in Nigeria than elsewhere and that it had
considered buying guns for Nigerian security forces.
A Shell spokesman declined to comment on whether Shandwick had done any
work around the programme.