Shell appoints Gas Chief Wael Sawan to succeed Van Beurden as CEO

Shell appoints Gas Chief Wael Sawan to succeed Van Beurden as CEO

By Jeffrey Smith

Investing.com – Shell (LON:) said the insider’s Wael Sawan will take over as current CEO Ben van Beurden at the end of the year.

Sawan, a 48-year-old Lebanese-born Canadian national, is currently Head of Integrated Gas and Renewable Energy Solutions, a profile that would fit him well for the top job at a company that is trying to break away from its historical roots as a business. oil product.

However, Sawan also has extensive experience in the business which remains the group’s largest source of cash, as he led the exploration and production division prior to taking up his current job.

Van Beurden is leaving after nine significant years in the role, during which he oversaw the transformative acquisition of BG Group, making the company the world’s largest privately owned producer of natural gas. He also presided over a massive asset sales program that followed that deal.

However, his period was also marked by the company’s first profit cut since World War II, an emergency measure to preserve cash in the early days of the pandemic as oil prices plummeted towards zero. This move was seen as a betrayal of confidence by many investment funds that have relied on the continuous growth in dividends over the years.

However, the recovery in oil and gas prices since 2020 has allowed for a relatively quick and smooth settlement with investors. Shell announced a $6 billion buyback in July after making huge profits in the first half of the year, taking advantage of price hikes caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These super-profits are now under threat from governments around the world, who are trying to ease the pain of rising energy prices for their constituents. However, in the UK, where Shell is based, new Prime Minister Liz Truss said she would not extend any unexpected taxes.

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Shell stock is currently trading above what it was just before the pandemic, and it’s up about 165% from its 2020 low.

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