Shell on Thursday announced that CEO Ben van Beurden will step down at the end of the year and will be replaced by Wael Sawan, the company’s head of integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions.
The news follows speculation that the oil giant had been actively looking for a successor to replace van Beurden as chief executive, after he spent nearly a decade at the helm.
“It’s been a privilege to work alongside Ben,” Sawan said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to channeling the pioneering spirit and passion of our incredible people to rise to the immense challenges, and grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition”.
The British multinational company’s announcement comes as oil companies are facing growing pressure to shift away from fossil fuels even as they see soaring profits from high energy prices.
“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;” said Shell’s Chair, Andrew Mackenzie.
In July, Shell posted record profits of $11.5 billion for a second straight quarter. That was up from $5.5 billion in the same three-month period last year.