Shell CEO to step down, Canadian Wael Sawan appointed as his successor

Mike Edwards   

News People in Process Ben van Beurden CEO energy Shell succession Wael Sawan

Ben van Beurden (left) will step down as CEO at the end of 2022, and will be succeeded by Wael Sawan (right).

Shell plc has announced that Ben van Beurden will step down as CEO at the end of 2022, and that his successor will be Wael Sawan. Wael’s appointment is effective January 1, 2023, when he will also join Shell’s Board of Directors. Ben van Beurden will continue working as adviser to the Board until June 30, 2023, after which he will leave the group.

Sawan is currently the Director Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions at Shell, and was previously the Director Upstream. He is based in The Hague and has been a member of Shell’s Executive Committee (EC) for three years.

Prior to joining EC, he was the EVP Deepwater and a member of the Upstream Leadership Team, and EVP Qatar and a member of the Integrated Gas Leadership Team. He has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas during his 25-year Shell career, and has also held roles in Downstream Retail, and in various commercial and New Business Development projects.

Sawan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and is a dual Lebanese-Canadian national. He grew up in Dubai and holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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

“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 Ben van Beurden, Shell’s Chair, Sir Andrew Mackenzie, 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.”


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