Who is Shell's new chief executive Wael Sawan?

The 48-year-old, who grew up in Dubai, will replace Ben van Beurden at the energy company

Wael Sawan, Shell's head of integrated gas and renewables division, will take over as the company's chief executive on January 1. Reuters
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Shell named Wael Sawan, head of its integrated gas and renewables division, as its new chief executive on Thursday. He will replace Ben van Beurden, with the energy company on the cusp of a transition to cleaner energy.

Mr Sawan, 48, currently oversees Shell's growth into low carbon energies, as well as its giant gas business. He was seen as the front-runner to succeed Mr Van Beurden and will inherit one of the industry's most ambitious green targets.

Seven facts about Wael Sawan

  • A Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin, he has headed Shell's integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions division since November 2021.
  • Mr Sawan begins as chief executive on January 1. "Wael Sawan is an exceptional leader, with all the qualities needed to drive Shell safely and profitably through its next phase of transition and growth," Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie said of his appointment.
  • Born in Beirut in July 1974, Mr Sawan grew up in Dubai and studied at Harvard Business School. He graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Canada's McGill University.
  • Mr Sawan joined Shell in 1997 and has been a member of the group's executive committee for three years.
  • Before taking up his current role, Mr Sawan was director of Shell's upstream business, where he oversaw the divestment of the Permian business and decision to exit onshore Nigeria.
  • Mr Sawan also had stints with Shell's deepwater and Qatar operations during a 25-year career spanning roles in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
  • The 48-year old has three sons with wife Nicole.
Updated: September 15, 2022, 12:24 PM