CHAPTER 11 - 1995 SHELL AGM
On 18th May 1995, my son and I attended the Shell Annual General Meeting at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. During the question and answer session attended by several hundred shareholders, I put a question to Sir John Jennings, the then Chairman of Shell Transport And Trading Co Plc.
I said that I represented the Shell Corporate Conscience Pressure Group and that many of our members had grievances against Shell. I went on to say that it was unfortunate that Shell refused to allow disputes to be settled by mediation when they knew full well that small businesses could not afford to take them to Court. I asked if Sir John Jennings would meet with us after the AGM, which he graciously and publicly agreed to do.
My son and I later had a friendly and constructive discussion with Sir John Jennings, who was not in the least bit stuffy or standoffish. On the contrary he literally patted me on the back for my performance in the conference hall. This was definitely a man that we could do business with. Sir John Jennings confirmed that contrary to the impression given to us by a senior Shell official, Shell Transport and Trading Company Secretary, Jyoti Munsiff, he had intervened on our behalf during the Make Money affair and that it was his intervention that had led to the mediation attempt in July 1994. He was puzzled as to why the mediation had not succeeded. We explained the background circumstances and went on to complain that we genuinely felt that Andrew Lazenby had treated us very badly and that Shell UK was acting oppressively against a small company.
Sir John Jennings mentioned that he had spoken to a number of people at Shell and they had all said that my son was a decent person. He could not understand why the dispute was still dragging on and on. He had intervened in response to a letter from my son in June 1993 and would “put his shoulder to the wheel again”. The fact that he felt it appropriate to intervene suggests that he may have shared our view about the oppressive tactics that had been used against us. Whatever the reason, he acted with great kindness towards us then and subsequently. For that, we will be eternally grateful to him.
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