Shell's new CEO reinforces gas focus
London, July 9, 2013
Royal Dutch Shell named refining head Ben van Beurden as its new chief executive, picking a man with little board-level experience but broad company exposure and first-hand knowledge of the gas technology it has bet its future on.
Van Beurden, who became head of refining, marketing and chemicals in January, has been at the Anglo-Dutch group for 30 years and spent a decade in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
At 55, the Dutchman is of similar age to Peter Voser, the Swiss national he is replacing, who announced his surprise retirement in May.
Though not widely known outside Europe's top oil company, van Beurden is respected inside it. He also represents a big part of Voser's vision of its future as a business in the forefront of oil and gas technology thanks to his experience in LNG, where Shell has become the acknowledged industry leader.
Van Beurden, who a former Shell executive described as "'The Quiet Man' within Shell - but enormously determined," faces an industry-wide battle to replace reserves and control costs. Some shareholders want Shell to reduce investment and keep more for bigger dividends.
A chemical engineering graduate, van Beurden had a front seat for the crisis, in which the company was forced to downgrade its oil and gas reserves that top executives had over-estimated for years. - Reuters