Shell has appointed Wael Sawan, a 25-year company veteran, as the successor to Ben van Beurden, the company’s longtime chief executive.
Sawan will replace Ben van Beurden, Shell’s boss for almost a decade, who will step down at the end of this year. Reports of Van Beurden’s planned departure emerged earlier this month, and Sawan was seen as the favorite to take the top job.
As the current head of Shell’s integrated gas and renewables division, Sawan oversees its push into low-carbon energy as well as its giant gas business.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside Ben and I am honored to succeed him at the helm of this great company,” said Sawan. “We will be disciplined and value-driven as we work with our customers and partners to deliver the reliable, affordable and cleaner energy the world needs.”
Sawan, who was born in Beirut and has dual Lebanese and Canadian nationality, will officially take up his role as chief executive from January 1, when he will also join Shell’s board of directors.
“The outcome of the board-managed succession process has resulted in the appointment of an outstanding chief executive and has proven the strength and depth of Shell’s leadership talent,” said Shell Chairman Sir Andrew Mackenzie. .
Van Beurden, 64, who has worked at Shell for nearly four decades, will continue in an advisory role to the board until the end of June.
“Ben can look back with great pride on an extraordinary 39-year career at Shell, culminating in nine years as an outstanding chief executive,” Mackenzie said. “He leaves a financially sound and profitable business with a strong balance sheet, very strong cash-generating capacity and a compelling set of growth options.”
During his tenure as chief executive, he oversaw one of the company’s biggest acquisitions in decades, buying BG Group for $53bn (£46bn) in 2016, and recently orchestrated the move from Netherlands company headquarters in London.
Van Beurden, who was paid 7.4m euros (£6.1m) in 2021, warned in August that gas shortages in Europe were likely to last for several years, raising the prospect of rationing continuous energy.