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Business News

Shell names 30-year veteran Ben van Beurden as boss in surprise move


Shares in Shell jumped today as the oil giant announced that company veteran Ben van Beurden would succeed Peter Voser at the helm.

Van Beurden, who has been with the oil and gas group for 30 years and is currently its head of refining and marketing, had not been seen as a front-runner for the job. His appointment came as a surprise to the City, which had been focusing its attention on Marvin Odum, Shell’s head of exploration and production in the Americas, and Andy Brown, who runs most of the rest of exploration and production. However, the move was tentatively welcomed as it ends the uncertainty after the surprise resignation of Voser in May to pursue “a lifestyle change” following 29 years at Shell.

The shares rose 20.50p, or 1.1 per cent, to 2,149.50p.

Shell chairman Jorma Ollila said: “Ben has a deep knowledge of the industry and proven executive experience across a range of Shell businesses. He will continue to drive and further develop the strategic agenda that we have set out, to generate competitive returns for our shareholders.”

Van Beurden was given the job “after a comprehensive assessment and review of internal and external candidates,” he added.

Van Beurden joined Shell in 1983 and has held a variety of roles in the company, in both the upstream — exploration and production — and downstream, refining and marketing, parts of the group. He has worked in the Netherlands, Africa, Malaysia, the US and, most recently, the UK.

A Dutch national, 55-year-old Van Beurden is married with four children.

He will take up the reins at the beginning of next year, although Voser will not leave the group until the end of March.