To lead its transition to a more environmentally friendly future, Shell turned to the head of its gas and renewables businesses, Wael Sawan, who was chosen to succeed Ben van Beurden as CEO.
The appointment of Sawan comes at a critical time for the oil giant, which is working to transition away from fossil fuels and decrease emissions to zero by 2050 even as Europe turns to conventional energy sources to weather a worsening energy crisis.
The front-runner to succeed van Beurden, who is retiring at the end of the year after nearly nine years as CEO and 40 years with the company, is 48-year-old Lebanese-Canadian Sawan.
Over the course of his career, the Dutchman van Beurden supervised Shell’s greatest purchase in decades, led the company through two severe downturns, and made a crucial decision to reduce greenhouse emissions—a task that will only become more crucial for his successor.
Formerly in charge of Shell’s oil and gas production division, Sawan now manages the company’s expansion into low-carbon energy sources and its sizable integrated gas business.
Analyst at Credit Suisse said Sawan was well-known to investors and that Shell’s strategy would not be much impacted by his appointment.
As of January 1, 2023, Sawan will assume the position of CEO of Shell.