Shell picks Lawrence to take up IR hot seat

Embattled oil giant Royal/ Dutch Shell has chosen company insider David Lawrence to take on one of the toughest jobs in communications as its group head of investor relations.

Lawrence, who has been V-P of group corporate strategy at Shell since 2002, assumes the role on 1 June.

One of Lawrence’s first tasks will be to rebuild investor confidence in the firm’s accounts, which has taken a severe battering over revelations that senior executives misled the City about the true level of Shell’s oil reserves.

He replaces Simon Henry who switched last month to become chief financial officer at Shell’s exploration and production unit. Prior to his group strategy role, Lawrence was V-P of exploration and development for Shell’s upstream business in the US and in the mid 1990s started up Shell offshore properties and capital, its offshore business for assets held in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this month, Shell appointed Brunswick senior associate partner Stuart Bruseth as group head of media relations (PRWeek, 14 May).

The furore surrounding its overstated oil reserves claimed the scalps of chairman Sir Phillip Watts, exploration and production head Walter van de Vijver and chief financial officer Judith Boynton.

Shell has since re-categorised 23 per cent of its oil reserves in four separate statements, the most recent of which was announced this week. Shell’s revised 2003 annual report and accounts were due to be published today (28 May).

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