Shell Replaces CFO of Troubled Unit

Division is subject of scrutiny regarding revisions to oil and gas reserves.
Stephen TaubApril 9, 2004

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. announced that it replaced the chief financial officer of its exploration and production business. Earlier this year, that division revised downward its proven reserves of oil and natural gas by 20 percent.

Frank Coopman “was offered a key alternative position in Shell, which he chose not to accept,” said company spokesman Simon Buerk, according to Bloomberg. “We continue to work toward a mutually acceptable alternative.”

Coopman, who had served in his position since July 2002, is the latest casualty at the energy giant. Last month Royal Dutch/Shell ousted Sir Philip Watts, the group’s chairman, and Walter van de Vijver, former head of the exploration and production division.

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Simon Henry, who has worked at the company for 21 years and is currently head of group investor relations, will replace Coopman, reported Bloomberg. He will report to Judy Boynton, the parent company’s CFO. (Some say this wouldn’t be the first time Boynton may have kept potentially material information under wraps; see “Déjà Judy.”)

Under a reorganization announced last month, the finance directors at each of Shell’s four units now report directly to Boynton, the finance chief at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, instead of to the head of each operating unit, according to Bloomberg.