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Shell Said to Seek New Chairman as Ollila Nears 9-Year Deadline

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, has started a search for a new chairman because Jorma Ollila is approaching nine years on the board, the maximum recommended for non-executives in the U.K., a person familiar with the process said.

The company hired Egon Zehnder to find a replacement for Ollila, who joined Shell’s board in June 2006, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the search is confidential. Ollila, a Finnish national, served as a chairman of Nokia Oyj until 2012 and became chairman at steelmaker Outokumpu Oyj since March last year, according to Shell’s website.

Sarah Bradley, a London-based spokeswoman at Shell, declined to comment.

Shell, based in The Hague, will have to seek a new chairman partly because of the U.K. Corporate Governance Code, which stipulates that a non-executive director may not be considered independent after serving for more than nine years on a board.

Ollila, 63, has chaired the company through two changes in chief executive officer. Ben van Beurden became Shell’s top executive this year, succeeding Peter Voser who took over from Jeroen van der Veer in 2009.

The search was earlier reported by Sky News.

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