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Surprise as Shell chief Peter Voser retires in ‘lifestyle change’

Voser made £4.12 million in salary, bonuses and other benefits in 2012, and will not receive any severance package on retirement

Shell chief executive Peter Voser unexpectedly announced his retirement today after four years in the job declaring “it is time for a change in my lifestyle”.

Voser, 54, who was promoted from chief financial officer to the top job in July 2009, will leave the helm during the first half of 2014. The search for a replacement is under way and both internal and external candidates are being considered.

Simon Henry, Shell’s chief financial officer, fuelled speculation he is a key contender to replace Voser today as he twice refused to rule out his interest.

“It would be highly inappropriate for me to say anything at the moment,” Henry said, who insisted that Voser’s departure was a lifestyle choice, amid suggestions that he was retiring fairly young and after a relatively short tenure.

Voser, who made £4.12 million in salary, bonuses and other benefits in 2012, will not receive any severance package when he retires.

In a message to staff, Voser said: “After almost 10 years as chief executive and chief financial officer, I have elected to retire in the first half of 2014. I am looking forward to having more time available for my family and private life”.

Voser’s retirement was announced alongside Shell’s first-quarter results, which revealed that profits increased by 3 per cent to $7.5 billion (£4.8 billion).

The group increased its dividend by 5 per cent to $0.45 a share.