Herbert Heitmann to lead Global Communications at Shell
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Herbert Heitmann to lead Global Communications at Shell

Herbert Heitmann will begin his new role as Shell's head of global communications on 1 June, after a 12-year career with technology giant SAP.

Paul Holmes

By Arun Sudhaman

Herbert Heitmann will begin his new role as Shell's head of global communications on 1 June, after a 12-year career with technology giant SAP.

Heitmann succeeds Bjorn Edlund to become executive vice-president of external communications at Shell, based in The Hague. Edlund recently departed to join Burson-Marsteller as senior advisor.

Heitmann was most recently chief communications officer at SAP. He will report to Shell corporate officer Hugh Mitchell, and assumes global responsibility for both reputation and brand management. He told the Holmes Report he would also work closely with Shell CEO Peter Voser.

Heitmann, who is also president of the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), added that his decision to depart SAP coincided with senior management changes at the tech company, notably the recent appointment of co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.

He also said he was looking forward to working in Shell's traditionally "issues-rich environment". Recently, for instance, the company admitted it had spilled record levels of oil in the Niger Delta last year, and has also agreed to cut gas flaring in that region because of sustained criticism from environmental groups.

Heitmann said issues like these help to "demonstrate the value of comms."

"It's good for the comms person. If not, then there is no need for the comms person."

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