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Shell announces successor to van Beurden


The UK-based energy giant Shell has confirmed recently reported rumours that longstanding CEO Ben van Beurden is to step down, and his successor has also been announced.

Van Beurden has been with Shell for almost four decades and headed it for almost one of these, navigating it through significant events like the COVID-19 pandemic, the relocation of its headquarters to London, and preparations for the energy transition. He will step down at the end of this year and be replaced by Wael Sawan, another veteran Shell employee.

Sawan said about his appointment:

“It’s been a privilege to work alongside Ben and I’m honoured to take over the leadership of this great company from him. 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.”

As the current divisional head for integrated gas and renewables, Sawan has been leading Shell’s development of its massive gas business and the expansion of low-carbon energy projects. While Shell already has a very profitable range of businesses, including the production of lubricants like grease and gear oil, Sawan’s appointment is perhaps an indication that the company will have a greater focus on renewable energy projects in future.

According to the company, some 35% of this years’ capital and operating budgets will be spent on projects that either generate low-carbon energy—such as wind and solar power and hydrogen production—or support low-emission activities, such as charging networks for electric vehicles.

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