Van Beurden to step down as British energy firm Shell chief executive

British energy giant Shell announced on Thursday that CEO Ben van Beurden will step down at the end of the year to be replaced by renewables director Wael Sawan.

LONDON — British energy giant Shell announced on Thursday that CEO Ben van Beurden will step down at the end of the year to be replaced by renewables director Wael Sawan.

Van Beurden, who will have been at the helm for nine years, will be replaced by Sawan, the current head of integrated solutions for gas, renewables and energy, Shell said in a press release.

Sawan‘s appointment comes as the oil giant seeks to become a net-zero emissions company, despite criticism from environmental activists who have accused it of corporate ‘greenwashing’ – the practice of marketing a company as more climate friendly than it actually is.

The outgoing CEO “can look back with great pride on an outstanding 39-year career at Shell,” chairperson Andrew Mackenzie revealed.

“Over the past decade, he has pioneered Shell’s transition to become a zero-emissions energy company by 2050.”

Van Beurden “leaves behind a financially sound and profitable business with a strong balance sheet, very strong cash-generating capacity and a number of attractive growth options,” Mackenzie added.

The incumbent CEO, 64, led a turbulent time on the energy titan, weathering oil prices tumbling in 2020 as COVID lockdowns ravaged demand and the market briefly turned negative.

  • Editor/ additional report by AFP
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