After working for Shell for 28 years, 14 years thereof in General Counsel positions, and having lived in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and China, I want to share some of my experiences, observations and learnings with others who might find them helpful. Parallel Mind is an excellent platform for doing so.
Most recently (2006-2015) I was the General Counsel for Shell’s global downstream business as well as a member of the global downstream business leadership team. I have held other General Counsel positions (and been a member of the legal leadership team) before and I have been on a number of other business leadership teams and boards (including joint ventures). I have worked in private practice and as a lecturer; and I have experience in issues management, government relations and other aspects of public affairs.
I am passionate about developing people and about working with diverse teams. I introduced global talent management for Shell Legal. I was the first ever legal talent manager and I remained closely involved as the talent sponsor on the legal leadership team. Over the years, I have built up a wealth of experience on training, coaching and mentoring, and I enjoy helping other legal leaders to find solutions to management challenges and issues – be it by developing solutions for them, by working together, or by (initially) just offering a sympathetic sounding board – something I found many leaders are lacking within their own organisations.
In addition to my interests in people development, having been in charge of managing the relationships with a number of law firms, been involved in various panels and having seen numerous pitches over many years, I have ample experience of how law firms can win or lose business, and how they can be better business partners.
Given my experience my support could be particularly useful in the following areas:
- Organisation, reorganisation
- Integration and change management
- Interim management
- Efficiency improvements and cost saving
- Working with outside counsel
- Providing feedback to outside counsel – what clients want…
- Business Partnering
- Diversity: Understanding and managing cultural differences/working across boundaries
- Difficult meetings and conversations
- Difficult decisions (e.g. redundancies or appraisals)
- Relationship issues
- Personal reputation issues
- Personal crisis management: How to turn mistakes into winning?
- Personal career development
So how can I help you?
University of Hamburg – 1st State Examination with distinction (1983)
Department of Justice, Hamburg – 2nd State Examination with distinction/qualified as judge (1988)
Doctor Juris with magna cum laude, University of Hamburg (1988)
English, German and Dutch – Fluent
Mandarin – Basic
Top legal professional, focus on results and passionate about people
Various Part-time Activities
- Independent attorney and advisor (member Hamburg Bar Association since 1989).
- Consultant Parallel Mind consultancy, London.
- Advisor to Tomorrow’s Company, London.
- Member Energy Circle, Bucerius Law School (Hamburg) Initiative on Energy Law and Policy.
- Author Oil Sales and Trading Contracts in: Peter Roberts (general editor), Oil and Gas Contracts- Principles and Practice (2016).
- Various training and coaching activities. Developed and presented Thomson Reuters Master Class on Business Partnering (2016).
January 2006 – 2015
General Counsel Downstream, Shell International Limited, London
- In charge of legal support to Shell’s global Downstream (oil products and Chemicals) business; instrumental for implementation of “footprint reduction and selective growth”portfolio programme and the development of a new antitrust compliance programme.
- Leading a global team of 300+ (including about 50 staff in each the UK and the US); supported by a global team of Associate General Counsel; direct and indirect supervision of 25 country Heads of Legal.
- Successfully developed and implemented reorganisation and change programmes within Legal; strong track record on efficiency improvements and cost management (including 30% overall reduction within two years).
- Oversaw significant portfolio/M&A activities including JV in Brazil and divestments in Scandinavia, France, Germany, Southern Europe, South America, Africa and Australia.
- Excellent feedback and top leadership scores in regular surveys – recent quotes: “very open door…. brilliant relationship…. challenging but fair – and with lots of humour…. quite inspiring…. team is more important than self”.
- Member of the global Shell Downstream Leadership Team and the Shell Legal Leadership Team.
- Director Shell International Petroleum Company (central Shell Service Company).
- Member Deutsche Shell Supervisory Board; member of the Presidential Subcommittee (“Präsidium des Aufsichtsrates”) and Conciliation Committee (“Vermittlungsausschuss”) (2009-2015).
- Developed global talent management for Shell Legal, was appointed first ever talent manager and remained sponsor for talent management on the Legal Leadership Team (2004-2015).
- Sponsor knowledge management (since 2011) and training (since 2014) for Shell Legal.
- Sponsor and mentoring Shell Asian Network.
- Shortlisted as General Counsel of the Year in 2009 (ILO European Counsel Awards).
- Winner General Commercial Team of the Year 2007 (ILO Global Counsel Awards).
- Various speaker and panel engagements, including most recently:
- Practical Law – Energy Law Business Forum: Advisory Committee, Conference Chair and workshop on Business Partnering. (2015)
- Practical Law – Doing Business in Emerging and High-Growth Markets Conference: Advisory Committee, Conference Chair and panel on HR Challenges and China workshop. (2014)
- Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum: Advisory Committee, panel on Workforce Trends and their Practical Impact. (2014)
- Corporate Counsel Exchange Amsterdam: Panel on Is the Way that you choose to work with your External Counsel right for you? (2014)
- Thomson Reuters – 2nd Annual Energy Law Forum Conference Call: Panel on Getting started in Emerging and High-Growth Areas. (2014)
- Legal Week – Corporate Counsel Forum: Presentation on Capturing Knowledge and Expertise to Ensure Greater Efficiency. (2013)
- Practical Law – Energy Law Business Forum: Panel on The Changing Role of In-house Counsel in the Energy Sector. (2013)
- Legal Support Network – Operational Leaders in Legal Conference: Panel on Attracting and Retaining Talent in a More Corporate Legal World. (2013)
July 2003 – December 2005
General Counsel Chemicals, Shell International Limited, London
- In charge of legal support to Shell’s global Chemicals business.
- Member of the global Shell Chemicals and the Legal Leadership Teams.
- Led on the divestment of Shell’s polyolefins business and supported the merger of Shell’s Oil Products and Chemicals businesses into one integrated Downstream business (“Downstream One”).
September 2001 – August 2003
General Counsel Shell Companies in North East Asia, Shell China Limited, Beijing
- Supporting all Upstream and Downstream businesses in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.
- Leading teams in China and Hong Kong.
- Focus on formation and running of Nanhai petrochemicals JV and other NBD opportunities primarily with CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec.
- Member of the Board of the Shell/CNOOC (Nanhai) petrochemicals marketing JV.
- Chairman of the Legal Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC).
1996 – August 2001
Legal Counsel and Senior Legal Counsel, Shell International Limited, London
- M&A lead lawyer on a variety of acquisitions, JV’s and divestments (divestment of 40% of Shell’s Chemicals business).
August 1995 – January 1996
International Issues Manager, Deutsche Shell AG, Hamburg
- Advising Country Chair and Board on (the aftermath of) Brent Spar and on issues in Nigeria.
- Liaising between Deutsche Shell and Shell Group; representing Europe on Shell UK focus group.
November 1992 – July 1995
Legal Counsel, Shell Internationale Petroleum Maatschappij, The Hague
- International portfolio work.
- Created “Attachment One”, Shell Legal’s global in-house magazine that after more than 20 years still continues in the original format.
November 1990 – October 1992
Government Relations Officer, Deutsche Shell AG, Hamburg
- In charge of relations with state governments in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
- Involved in planning and execution of annual reports and other aspects of corporate and public affairs.
February 1988 – October 1990
Legal Advisor Deutsche Shell AG, Hamburg; Private Practice
- In charge of legal support to three regional Branch Offices (Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf).
- In parallel working in private practice.
1983 – 1988
Junior Lawyer and Lecturer at University of Hamburg (“Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter”)
Other Interests: History and Politics; Sports