LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday announced Andrew Mackenzie, a former BHP CEO and BP veteran, as its next chairman who will help lead the energy company through a major shift away from oil and gas to low-carbon energy.
Mackenzie will succeed Charles Holliday who will step down on May 18 after serving six years in the role.
Mackenzie, who left BHP Group last year after serving as CEO of the mining group from 2013 to 2019, joined Shell’s board in October 2020.
Before that he worked at Rio Tinto for three years following a 22-year career in BP, where he held senior roles in oil and gas exploration, research and development and chemicals.
Mackenzie, a British national born in 1956, will take over as the Anglo-Dutch company undergoes a major overhaul focused on low-carbon businesses and power trading and reducing its greenhouse emissions by mid-century.
He will also likely lead in the coming years the search for a successor to CEO Ben van Beurden, who has been in office since 2014.
His appointment follows a year which due to the pandemic prompted Shell to cut its dividend for the first time since World War II.
“I look forward to working with Ben van Beurden and the Board to profitably accelerate Shell’s transition into a net-zero emissions energy business that continues to generate substantial value for shareholders, customers and communities alike,” Mackenzie said.
Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement at the Church of England who co-led climate talks between Shell and a large group of investors known as Climate Action 100+, said Mackenzie joins Shell at the start of an “absolutely crucial” decade.
“This transition decade will challenge the foundations of all oil and gas companies and Shell has started to detail its plan,” Matthews, who had engaged with Mackenzie on climate issues during his time at BHP, told Reuters in a statement.
“The pressure to progress an ambitious plan for the company and retain the confidence of the owners will ultimately be one of the major determinants of his success in the role,” Matthews said.
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely and Elaine Hardcastle)