Kate Mackenzie Shell shake-up widely rumoured; E&P and G&P tipped to merge

Today we’ve heard a couple of rumours that the departure of Shell’s gas and power chief, Linda Cook, came ahead of some major changes to the company’s structure.

One of those sources, both of them at Shell, said that the exploration and production unit was likely to merge with the gas and power unit.

Dow Jones also has word from “a person familiar with Shell’s thinking” that:

…Voser put this restructuring plan to the Shell board, with the aim of making significant costs cuts, some months ago when he was competing to replace current Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer, who retires at the end of June.

“This has been bubbling away for quite some time,” and Voser’s rise to the position of Chief Executive has brought it to a head, the person said.

Cook’s resignation is seen as connected to her missing out on the chief executive job, for which she was a contender, but this restructuring is said to have also been a factor in her decision.

Shell-watching blog royaldutchplc.com says it has assembled from ‘multiple sources inside Shell’ that not only will E&P and G&P merge, but that 30 per cent of senior managers/executives will also go. The company is apparently meeting in Berlin over the next two days and this will all be delivered by Peter Voser, the incoming chief executive, on Thursday.

Cook will forego a bonus of more than £800,000.

Shell would not comment.

Related stories:
Cook foregoes bonus after quitting Shell
(FT, 26/05/09)
Shell executives take flak over bonuses (FT, 19/05/09)