BG's new boss 'breached safety rules at Shell in the North Sea'

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Oil & gas giant BG Group has asked a former Shell executive who was once accused of dangerous health and safety breaches in the North Sea to be its new boss.

Chris Finlayson, who is a BG board member and joined from Shell in 2010, was one of the men who were accused by an insider of having been involved in a Touch F*** All policy when he was a director for the company's UK division in the late 1990s.

This supposedly involved top directors allowing managers to stop maintenance and safety inspections in the North Sea so as to prevent costly shutdowns.

The allegations were made by whistleblower Bill Campbell, a former Shell group auditor, and were made public in a 2007 email to Shell chairman Jorma Ollila. In 2003, two oil workers died on Shell's Brent Bravo platform, which a fatal accident inquiry in Aberdeen said could have been prevented if a hole in a corroding pipeline had been fixed.

A spokesman for BG told The Independent that Mr Finlayson could not be contacted today to discuss the allegations, but said that the company has "clear business principles that all injuries are preventable".

Shell repeated a previous statement in relation to the accusations: "Safety is Shell's foremost priority at all times and we absolutely reject any suggestion that we would compromise our safety offshore." Mr Finlayson will take over from BG chief executive Sir Frank Chapman next month.

The 56-year-old, who was at Shell for more than three decades, has been charged with reviving BG's fortunes after suffering the biggest one-day fall in its share price six weeks ago.

Sir Frank had overseen spectacular expansion in his 12 years in charge.