The Daily Telegraph

Shell appoints renewables chief to top job

- By Lucy Burton

SHELL’S head of renewables is taking over as chief executive of the oil giant as the most valuable company on the FTSE 100 races to shift away from fossil fuels.

Shell’s boss Ben van Beurden is to hand the reins of the company to gas and renewables head Wael Sawan in January after almost a decade in charge, a promotion which comes as the company faces mounting pressure to accelerate its shift towards greener energy.

In recent years climate protesters have demonstrat­ed outside the oil firm’s London headquarte­rs, including glueing themselves to doors in the building.

The changeover follows weeks of rumours about a shift at the top of Shell, with Mr Sawan reported earlier this month to be one of four candidates in the running for the role.

A dual Lebanese-canadian national who has been with the business for 25 years, Mr Sawan is a familiar face to investors. One shareholde­r told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Sawan is “good, articulate and smart” and he expects the new chief to “accelerate spend outside of oil and gas”. Shell’s core business is drilling for oil and gas, but it also supplies around 1.4m UK households with energy through its UK retail business Shell Energy Retail.

It attracted criticism this year when it broke ranks with western traders to go bargain hunting for Russian oil, snapping up a cargo for $28.50 (£24.80) a barrel less than the benchmark Brent price. It apologised and vowed to stop buying Russian oil and gas.

Shell has unveiled record profits on the back of surging oil and gas prices this year. Mr Van Beurden is the 18th FTSE 100 boss to resign this year.

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