Shell promotes new CEO to drive renewable energy focus
Shell has announced that Ben van Beurden will step down as CEO at the end of 2022, and that his successor will be Wael Sawan.
The change in leadership comes amid the current energy crisis and as Shell prioritises its future business focus on renewables. The incoming CEO, Mr Sawan, is currently director integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions. His experience with renewables is an asset Shell will rely on to achieve its future goals.
Mr Sawan’s appointment will be effective 1 January 2023, when he will also join Shell’s board of directors. Mr van Beurden will continue working as adviser to the board until 30 June 2023, after which he will leave the group.
Shell’s chair, Sir Andrew Mackenzie, said: “Wael Sawan is an exceptional leader, with all the qualities needed to drive Shell safely and profitably through its next phase of transition and growth.
“His track record of commercial, operational and transformational success reflects not only his broad, deep experience and understanding of Shell and the energy sector, but also his strategic clarity. He combines these qualities with a passion for people, which enables him to get the best from those around him.
“The outcome of the board’s managed succession process resulted both in the appointment of an outstanding CEO and proved the strength and depth of Shell’s leadership talent. I look forward to working with Wael as we accelerate the delivery of our strategy.”
Mr Sawan said: “It’s been a privilege to work alongside Ben and I’m honoured to take over the leadership of this great company from him. I’m looking forward to channelling the pioneering spirit and passion of our incredible people to rise to the immense challenges, and grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition.
“We will be disciplined and value focused, as we work with our customers and partners to deliver the reliable, affordable and cleaner energy the world needs.”
Commenting on Mr van Beurden’s departure, Sir Andrew said: “Ben can look back with great pride on an extraordinary 39-year Shell career, culminating in nine years as an exceptional CEO.
“During the last decade, he has been in the vanguard for the transition of Shell to a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 and has become a leading industry voice on some of the most important issues affecting society.
“He leaves a financially strong and profitable company with a robust balance sheet, very strong cash generation capability and a compelling set of options for growth. These were all enabled by bold moves he has led, including the 2016 acquisition of BG and the transformational $30 billion divestment of non-core assets that followed.
“He took firm, decisive action to marshal the company through the global pandemic, seizing the opportunity for a major reset to ensure we emerged fitter, stronger and equipped to succeed in the energy transition.
“Powering Progress, Shell’s detailed strategy to accelerate our profitable transition to a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, was unveiled in February 2021 and was quickly followed by moves to simplify both our organisational and share structures. Ben’s legacy will frame Shell’s success for decades to come.”
Mr van Beurden added: “It has been a privilege and an honour to have served Shell for nearly four decades and to lead the company for the past nine years.
“In my journey from LNG design engineer to CEO, I have been fortunate to work alongside so many talented people from diverse backgrounds – all committed to the company’s goal of providing the world with the essential commodities of modern life.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved together. I have great confidence in Wael as my successor. He is a smart, principled and dynamic leader, who I know will continue to serve Shell with conviction and dedication. I wish him and his family all the best for the journey ahead.”