Save for later Print Download Share LinkedIn Twitter Supermajor Shell is set to embark on a new chapter following the imminent retirement of Chief Executive Ben van Beurden and the ascension of Wael Sawan to the job on Jan. 1. The announcement of a new CEO was hardly a surprise, given Van Beurden’s relatively long nine-year tenure at the helm. The choice of Sawan as successor was well-flagged but nevertheless represents a departure from past Shell leaders. He takes over a company that has recently undergone its most significant strategic shift in decades as it resets its financial framework and approach to the energy transition after the pandemic-driven downturn. At 48, Sawan will be the youngest CEO in Shell’s history, and the Lebanese-Canadian executive will be the first non-European to guide Shell in its roughly 115-years of existence. Sources tell Energy Intelligence that Sawan enjoys strong backing at the board level, noting that he is known for being decisive on tough issues. Chairman Andrew Mackenzie praised Sawan’s “track record of commercial, operational and transformational success” and noted “his strategic clarity,” when announcing the decision.