Shell International, damaged by controversy surrounding the company’s
environmental and human rights record has called in former NatWest
chief, Raoul Pinnell, to revive its fortunes.
Pinnell will head up Shell International’s brand and marketing
communications operation, with responsibility for all its international
markets except the US. He will report to David Pirret, head of marketing
services. Pinnell replaces Mike Kesztenbaum, who has moved to Shell’s
The recruitment of a high-profile marketer is likely to be a key element
in the rehabilitation of Shell’s public image.
The oil giant was publicly vilified for its decision to dump the Brent
Spar oil storage platform in the North Sea, and for its failure to
defend the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa from execution by the Nigerian
government for protesting over Shell’s oil exploration in the country.
Shell now admits that it neglected the environmental sensitivities of
consumers over the Brent Spar issue and is expected to incorporate a
reference to human rights in its statement of business principles.
The company is also to launch a pan-European marketing drive next year,
including brand-building advertising, to highlight the company’s
positive role in the international community.
The company has asked its roster agencies Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter
Thompson and Publicis to pitch for its pounds 60m European business,
having previously advertised on a country-by-country basis. The pitch
will be concluded in January.
Pirret said Pinnell will be responsible for the image of Shell along
with the marketing of its fuel, retail and loyalty operations.
‘He will do all the aspects of the brand and marketing communications
side. He is basically the steward of the brand.’
Pirret added that a corporate brand-building campaign designed to
represent the company is an option for next year.
Pinnell was responsible for modernising NatWest’s image and introduced
advertising designed to give the company a softer consumer-oriented