Sir Geoffrey Chandler, former director of Shell, 1922-2011

Sir Geoffrey Chandler

An extract from the obituary of a man of action and a champion, before it was fashionable, of business ethics and human rights. When Chandler ‘faced the disdain of his peers, … he insisted that companies had a moral responsibility to make human rights and protection of the environment as much part of their bottom line as profit.’  He worked with Paddy in SOE in the war and last saw him in Alexandria in 1945.

By Phil Davison

First published in The Financial Times, 15 April 2011.

Born in London in 1922, Chandler was educated at Sherborne school in Dorset and Trinity College, Cambridge. At the age of 19, with the second world war raging, he joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, where he became a captain before being assigned to Force 133 within the SOE, nicknamed “the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”. There he met the now-legendary SOE agent and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.

“The last time I saw Paddy was in Alexandria towards the end of the war when he and I were loading a jeep onto a caïque (a Greek fishing boat) athwartships,” Chandler once told a friend. “The jeep was full of gold coins to pay off the partisans.” Chandler was parachuted behind Nazi lines as a saboteur in Greece, where he learnt fluent Greek. He related his experiences in his book The Divided Land: an Anglo-Greek Tragedy, published in 1959. In it he criticised Britain for not imposing the rule of law in Greece after the defeat of the Nazis. A rightwing backlash to communist atrocities after the war resulted in bloody civil conflict in Greece.

After the war, Chandler remained in Greece as a British press and information officer, when he pushed for aid for the war-stricken Greek population. He returned to London to work for the BBC External Services in 1949 before joining the Financial Times as leader writer and features editor. In 1955, he married Lucy Buxton, a Quaker.Born in London in 1922, Chandler was educated at Sherborne school in Dorset and Trinity College, Cambridge. At the age of 19, with the second world war raging, he joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, where he became a captain before being assigned to Force 133 within the SOE, nicknamed “the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”. There he met the now-legendary SOE agent and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. “The last time I saw Paddy was in Alexandria towards the end of the war when he and I were loading a jeep onto a caïque (a Greek fishing boat) athwartships,” Chandler once told a friend. “The jeep was full of gold coins to pay off the partisans.” Chandler was parachuted behind Nazi lines as a saboteur in Greece, where he learnt fluent Greek. He related his experiences in his book The Divided Land: an Anglo-Greek Tragedy, published in 1959. In it he criticised Britain for not imposing the rule of law in Greece after the defeat of the Nazis. A rightwing backlash to communist atrocities after the war resulted in bloody civil conflict in Greece. After the war, Chandler remained in Greece as a British press and information officer, when he pushed for aid for the war-stricken Greek population. He returned to London to work for the BBC External Services in 1949 before joining the Financial Times as leader writer and features editor. In 1955, he married Lucy Buxton, a Quaker.

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4 thoughts on “Sir Geoffrey Chandler, former director of Shell, 1922-2011

  1. Roger de Brantes

    Yes…Royal Dutch Shell… Official sponsor of the Nazi party, not to mention a host of truly democratic régimes (including old Moammar and the not so sexy Abacha, et c et c.; I love the “moral reponsability” quote. Probably no accident that PLF and him last met in 1945..

    Reply
    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      Well Roger you did not know him. Maybe he gets the benefit of the doubt – Amnesty thought him OK – and it may be easier to attempt change from the inside. He clearly failed, but that is not the point.

      Reply
        1. proverbs6to10 Post author

          Well guys there is nothing that says this blog must avoid controversy! Let’s keep the debates going 🙂

          Reply

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