Shell legal director Peter Rees in shock departure

January 10, 2014 | Company Operations, Legal

Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters, The Hague, Netherlands

Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters, The Hague, Netherlands

London – Royal Dutch Shell’s  legal director Peter Rees QC has today left the oil giant, just three years after joining the company.

The abrupt move is understood to have surprised the legal team, which was informed today in an email announcement from chief executive Ben Van Beurden. Rees’s tenure has ceased with immediate effect.

Acknowledging the move, Shell spokesperson said: “Shell can confirm that Peter Rees is stepping down as legal director of the company with effect from 10 January 2014 to pursue other interests.

”Peter has agreed to remain at Shell until 11 February 2014 in order to assist with the transition of his responsibilities.

”Shell thanks Peter for his service to the company and wishes him every success in the future.”

Rees joined Shell as global legal director in January 2011. During his tenure, he reorganised reporting lines globally and reclaimed control from external counsel by bringing litigation in-house. In an interview last year, he said: “If you look at most corporations these days, litigation and compliance is the biggest risk.”

In the last five years Shell has reduced external legal spend globally by 61 per cent from $330m to $128m.