Royal Dutch/Shell Group has agreed to pay $4.6 million in severance to Walter van de Vijver, the exploration and production chief who resigned in March as the company’s energy reserves scandal unfolded.
Van de Vijver resigned at the same time as former chairman Philip Watts. The two were blamed for the reserves overstatement in an internal Shell report that was disclosed in April, which included e-mails between the two men regarding the reserves issues. In a November 2003 e-mail to Watts, van de Vijver wrote that he was “sick and tired about lying about the extent of our reserves issues and the downward revisions that need to be done because of far too aggressive/optimistic bookings.” The report indicated that van de Vijver addressed the overbooking issue as early as 2001.
According to Shell, van de Vijver will be paid in installments, subject to his continuing cooperation with regulatory and company officials that are investigating the reclassification. He also is entitled to a deferred annual pension beginning in 2015, the company said. Van de Vijver served as president and COO of Shell Exploration & Production Co. beginning in 1998, and the reserve changes affect the period he headed the department. Shell has reclassified downward about 22% of its reserves since January.
In July, Shell agreed to pay a tentative $120 million penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle civil findings in its investigation, without admitting or denying any guilty. The SEC still is investigating individuals involved in the overstatement.
Watts already has settled with Shell for a severance payment of $1.95 million and an annual pension.
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