The 59-year-old is said to be a major art collector who was a classmate of President Obama at Columbia University and whose great-aunt, Ruth Handler, invented the doll Barbie.
He founded Third Point in June 1995 using his own savings and funding from his family. It peaked in 2007 when it made $ 1.5 billion in profits before nearly collapsing into the financial crisis, according to a Vanity Fair profile in 2013.
In his letter this week, Mr Loeb said Third Point started taking a stake in Shell earlier this year.
He said the past two years had been “particularly difficult” for Shell shareholders due to the reduction in dividends from Dutch court cases in the depths of the pandemic, which has since been partially restored. However, investor returns had been weak for two decades.
“We are at the very beginning of our engagement with the company, but we are confident that Shell’s board and management can formulate a plan to accelerate decarbonization while simultaneously improving returns for its long-suffering shareholders. Added Mr. Loeb.
In a statement after markets closed on Wednesday, Shell said it “welcomes an open dialogue with all shareholders, including Third Point.”
“Shell’s investor relations team has had preliminary conversations with Third Point and we will engage with them, as we do with all of our shareholders. “
Shell “regularly reviews and assesses the company’s strategy with a focus on creating shareholder value,” he added.
Shares fell 0.7 pc to £ 17.76.
Andrew Logan of the Ceres shareholder advisory group said Mr Loeb’s move was an important development.
“This will force Shell to answer a question that has been on the minds of investors for some time: Are legacy oil companies like Shell really adding value to the low carbon transition? Is Shell becoming like an old-fashioned conglomerate, where is the whole worth less than the sum of the parts?
“Or is it the opposite that is true, and that by combining cash flow from oil and gas assets under one corporate roof as a high growth, investment intensive clean energy company, Is Shell actually building a stronger business than either of the two? If nothing else, Third Point’s decision indicates that Shell has failed to convince the investment community that it pays to keep all of these activities in-house. ”