EXECUTIVES: Wagnerian Era

A typically worldly, multilingual Dutchman, who spent part of his youth as an anti-Nazi resistance fighter, has just taken over the top job in a globe-spanning industrial empire that employs 165,000 people, owns and charters a fleet of 200 ships and lately has encountered some rough weather. Gerrit ("Gerry") Wagner became chairman of the seven-man committee that runs Royal Dutch/Shell, which is the world's biggest industrial enterprise outside the U.S. as well as the second largest oil complex (after Jersey Standard). The son of a Dutch businessman, Wagner joined Royal Dutch in...